PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – With wind gusts reaching 25 mph around the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club on Tuesday, Ferris State University of Big Rapids, Mich., raced out to a 14-stroke lead after the first round of the 12th PGA Jones Cup presented by High Definition Golf.
Featuring an all-senior lineup, the Bulldogs shot 2 under par as a team and were paced by the only players in the 95-student field to finish under par Patrick Humphrey (69) of Jackson, Mich.; Chad Sandee (70) of Sheboygan, Wis.; and Matt Sheperd (71) of Oxford, Mich.
The 36-hole event, featuring 19 schools in the PGA Golf Management University program, includes the top five players from each University. The final round of the PGA Jones Cup presented by High Definition Golf begins at 8:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday at PGA Golf Club.
“The conditions were tough today. With the crosswind, I had to aim off the fairways into the bunkers and the water, just to get it into play off the tee,” said Humphrey, who had seven birdies to more than offset four bogeys on the day. Humphrey played despite a herniated disc in his back, which will require surgery after the National Championship concludes.
Ferris State PGA Head Professional Ian Ziska pointed to a team that is peaking at the right time. “I think we have good chemistry with this group of kids. They played well, but they still left some putts on the course.”
Florida Gulf Coast – which features local high school graduate Austin Davenport (75) of West Palm Beach – is in second place, three strokes ahead of both Florida State and New Mexico State. Florida State freshman Andrew Story (74) also hails from West Palm Beach, while New Mexico State was paced by Redge Camacho (74) of Guam.
“It’s just a fun tournament,” said Story. “I’m used to this wind, but most of these players in the field are not. I feel like it can be an advantage for me.”
Mississippi State, vying for a record fourth title, is in fifth place, 22 shots off the pace. Defending Champion Campbell University, also seeking a fourth Championship, is tied for seventh, 24-strokes back of Ferris State.
The PGA Jones Cup presented by High Definition Golf brings together teams from 15 states. Named for the first PGA Golf Management University Program Director at Mississippi State University, Dr. S. Roland Jones, who held the position from 1985 until his passing in 1997, the tournament serves as a stepping stone to future PGA of America events, such as the PGA Professional National Championship.
The PGA Jones Cup serves to provide a platform where participants can display professionalism, integrity, character and camaraderie; all characteristics Dr. Jones instilled in PGA Golf Management students.
Participating universities in the PGA Jones Cup presented by High Definition Golf are schools accredited by The PGA of America to offer the four-and-one-half- to five-year PGA Golf Management University Program for aspiring PGA Professionals. The college curriculum provides extensive classroom studies, internship experience and player development, and provides students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills to succeed in the golf industry as a PGA Professional.
Students in the PGA Golf Management University Program study a combination of golf and business-related subjects, as well as serve a minimum of 16 months in on-course internships within the golf industry.