PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Is the Earth flat? Thanks to Pythagoras and his ancient Greek cronies, we know it’s not. But what about the golf world?
That riddle has the potential to be settled this week on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club, where Florida Gulf Coast University (299) leads the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs by one shot after the first of two rounds of the 2018 PGA Jones Cup.
A pair of Atlantic Coast Conference powers, Clemson University and North Carolina State University are tied for third at 305, just six behind FGCU. Coastal Carolina University (306) is seven back and alone in fifth place.
Among the 18 universities vying for the Jones Cup, only one hails from the Sunshine State and that is Florida Gulf Coast (FGCU). Florida’s highest peak, Britton Hill, located in the panhandle, is 345 feet above sea level.
That stands in stark contrast to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS), which sits at the base of Pikes Peak and is nestled more than 6,000 feet above sea level on the southern reaches of the Rocky Mountains.
How is it that two PGM Programs 1,600 miles apart, from drastically diverging elevations and topography, are within a single shot of one another at the halfway mark of national championship for PGA Professional Golf Management programs?
FGCU was led by strong play and a pair of 73s from Alex Holt and Cameron Fady. Darin DeLelys (75) and Eric Costa (78) chipped in with FGCU’s final two numbers.
“We’re very happy with our position, but at the same time, we’re trying to stay focused on what is in front of us,” said Holt, a senior from Indiana who is playing in his third Jones Cup. “Yes, we have a lead, but it’s only by a shot. The way I see it, we’re all just making the turn. There is a lot of golf yet to be played.”
Holt may not put too much stock in his squad’s slim lead, but what about playing in their home state, at sea level?
“I’d like to think there is an advantage, but golf is golf. It’s hard. I am very impressed with UCCS coming in here and dealing with the elevation change so quickly and so well. My hat’s off to them.”
Bradley Myers first-round 68 set the tone for UCCS. In doing so, he carded Tuesday’s low individual score on a tranquil morning on the Wanamaker Course.
“I played pretty well,” said Myers, who is also playing in his third Jones Cup. “I sort of plodded my way through the first couple of holes. They weren’t as clean as I would have liked, but I made a few nice swings and sort of got rolling a bit. It was nice to finish it off right with a birdie on No. 18.”
Both FGCU and UCCS (300) are in search of its initial Jones Cup victory, as is Clemson. N.C. State claimed its lone Jones Cup in 2011, while Coastal Carolina seized back-to-back titles in 2004 and ’05.
Defending champion Campbell University claimed its record fifth Jones Cup title in 2017. The Camels will need to erase a 9-shot deficit as the 36-hole event concludes on Wednesday on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.
The PGA Jones Cup is named for the first PGA Golf Management University Program Director at Mississippi State, Dr. S. Roland Jones, who held the position from 1985 until his passing in 1997. The event provides a platform where participants can display professionalism, integrity, character and camaraderie; all characteristics Dr. Jones instilled in PGA Golf Management students.
All participating universities in the PGA Jones Cup are schools accredited by the PGA of America to offer the PGA Golf Management University Program for aspiring PGA Professionals. There are currently over 1,700 students enrolled in the program nationwide.