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Bethune-Cookman Wins Both Men's & Women's Titles in Minority Collegiate Golf Championship
Both the men's and women's teams from Bethune-Cookman University claimed titles in the 27th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
In the women's division, Bethune-Cookman won in thrilling fashion. The Wildcats defeated the University of Texas-Pan American on the first playoff hole to claim their record 10th title.
Both teams finished with a 909 total then headed back to the 18th hole on the Ryder Course for the playoff. In the playoff, each team took the four lowest scores of the five players who played the hole. Bethune-Cookman finished with a total score of 1-under par, while Texas-Pan American finished 1-over par. Chicago State University finished in third place at 935.
Bethune-Cookman's women's team was led by Andrea Orozco, who was also the women's team medalist, finishing with a 54-hole total of 4-over 220.
The Bethune-Cookman University men's team also won, overcoming a four-stroke deficit in the final round to edge 36-hole leader Texas-Pan American by a stroke. Alabama State University finished third, 12 strokes back
The Wildcat men, who finished with an 883 total, were led by freshman Ryan Fricker. The Englishman shot a final-round 71 on the Wanamaker Course to finish third in the medalist race. Kevin Kirakossian, a senior at the Texas-Pan American, won Division I medalist honors.
"We really didn't play well yesterday and almost let the Championship slip away," said Fricker. "I was happy to help the team today and it felt good to win this championship in my first appearance. It was really cool."
PGA professional Scooter Clark, the head coach at Bethune-Cookman, was pleased with both team's performances in the final round. "It was a long and a very stressful day out there," said Clark, who is in his third year as head coach. "But both teams really grinded and I am just thrilled to take home both titles in this incredible tournament. It is really satisfying."
In Division II, Lincoln University from Jefferson City, Mo., earned its fifth overall title, closing with a final-round 302 and an 898 total. Texas A&M International finished second at 922, while Virginia State University was third at 932.
The Blue Tigers of Lincoln University were led by Steven Mallow, who finished with 4-over-par 220 total. Zach Smith of Virginia State University claimed Division II medalist honors, finishing with an ever-par 216 total.
In the Men's Independent Division, Robert Grant of Alabama State University survived a three-person playoff to earn the title. The England native holed-out from 133 yards for eagle on the 18th hole to force the playoff, and hit his approach on the same hole in the playoff to two feet for birdie to capture the title in his first attempt.
Justin Watkins, the 2012 men's independent champion, from the University of Central Oklahoma, and Daniel Inocencio of UNLV tied for second place after both made bogey on the playoff hole.
"I absolutely pured the shot from 133 yards and saw it hit the flag. Then I saw my teammates go crazy and I knew it was in," said Grant. "And then to hit another great shot in the playoff was just incredible. This event is our National Championship and it's so great to win it."
In the Women's Independent Division, Alexis Belton of Texas Wesleyan closed with a 74 to win the title by a single stroke over Samantha Garcia of Texas-Pan American. "I came into the final round and I just wanted to have fun and try to play my best," said Belton, who was competing in her first PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship. "It felt great to win and I can't wait to come back and play again next year."
In the NAIA Division, Talladega (Ala.) College captured its second title and first since 2010. The Tornado led throughout the championship and finished well ahead of Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, Fla. Kevin Parker of Edward Waters College claimed the NAIA division medalist honors, finishing with a 6-under-par 210 total.
The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information and complete results, visit www.pga.com.