October 24, 2016
Bookmark and Share

Morehouse College Among Winners In PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Never let it be said that the intangibles of depth and team chemistry are not a part of college golf.

The University of Texas-Pan American men's team and Bethune-Cookman University's women's unit found such a formula is alive and well Sunday afternoon as each carved a path to Division I titles in the 24th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.

Texas-Pan American senior Armen Kirakossian collected four back-nine birdies for a 4-under-par 68 on PGA Golf Club's Wanamaker Course, while his teammates did not miss a beat and took advantage of stumbles by defending champion Tennessee State University for a two-stroke, 872 to 874, victory. It was Texas-Pan American's fourth overall title and first since 2007.

"We found the chemistry that we needed at the start of the year," said Broncs Coach Santiago De Larrea. "Armen was great, but so were guys like his brother, Kevin, and [freshman] Brandon Reyna. This is just my second season as coach, and it makes me feel as good now as when I was here in 2002 on the team and playing for a championship."

Bethune-Cookman University's quintet, which is more like five sisters than an international mix of English, Venezuelan and American golf talent, posted a 54-hole school and tournament-record 885 total for its eighth overall title.

This Wildcat unit was led by junior Kim Wong of East Montpelier, Vt., whose closing 3-over-par 75 on the Ryder Course may have sealed medalist honors at 216, but senior teammate Emma Tayler of Devon, England, sprinkled in a bogey-free 70 to ensure that she would not be forgotten.

"The stage was set for the team to go on to a championship when I took over as head coach 10 days ago, and they performed tremendously," said Bethune-Cookman Coach and PGA Professional Loritz "Scooter" Clark, who succeeded PGA Professional Gary Freeman, who was the architect of the Wildcats' golf powerhouse but has reduced his coaching duties due to health reason.

"This was a team that supported each other on and off the course," said Wong. "We came in and did what we had to do. It's amazing – three straight days of the same total scoring (295)! I'm really going to miss my four teammates next year. We have four freshmen coming in next year and with big shoes to fill."

Teammate Tayler said that though she has had better 18-hole total scores, her final round Sunday was a showcase for her.

"This was my most complete, mistake-free round ever," said Tayler. "I'm very happy that I could do it today."

While Bethune-Cookman's breezed to its title, Texas-Pan American needed two big breaks to pass Tennessee State University on the back nine at the Wanamaker Course.

Tennessee State senior Chris Seibel double-bogeyed the par-4 10th hole, and fell a stroke behind playing partner Armen Kirakossian, who took the cue to go on a birdie run from the 12th through 14th holes, and adding another at the 16th to hold together a gem of a round. Seibel finished with a 76.

About an hour earlier, Tennessee State's Richard Gill, who was his team's No. 4 player, suffered a quadruple bogey-8 on the par-4 15th hole, on his way to a 76. Those two sudden twists allowed the Broncs the cushion needed to hold on for victory.

"I'm disappointed for our team, but more for Chris, who was playing in his final collegiate championship," said Tennessee State Head Coach and PGA Professional Chip Taylor. "We had a chance to win coming down the final four holes, and that is all you can ask for."

The Championship featured a field of 185 players representing 15 countries and 41 colleges and universities. It was the 13th consecutive year that PGA Golf Club served as host.

In the day's other team competition, Morehouse College of Atlanta, Ga., coached by PGA Professional Bill Lewis, brought home its first Division II title by a resounding 20 strokes, 906 to 926, over Virginia State University.

Senior Philip Allen, a graduate of The First Tee of Atlanta, highlighted his 69 on the Wanamaker Course by holing out for an eagle from the fairway on the 350-yard, par-4 15th hole. He capped his round with a birdie on the 18th green.

Following the trophy ceremony, Allen joined his teammates in a circle and sang the school's alma mater, "Dear Ole Morehouse."

"Though we were sitting up 24 strokes last night, we didn't feel that we had it [a title] in hand," said Allen. "We met last night to talk about our plan for today's round. We were serious about playing well."

"This says a lot about the future of our program," said Maroon Tigers Coach Lewis. "We have had 30 kids from The First Tee of Atlanta go on to golf scholarships. And, to have two kids make our team – Philip Allen and Olajuwon Ajanaku –well, I don't know any other First Tee chapters that can make such a claim."

The Men's Independent Division title went to University of Central Florida junior Amit Odaiyar, whose 68 on the Ryder Course and 208 total came after a duel with close friend Nyasha Mauchaza, a junior from Towson University, who closed with a 72.

"I was two down to Nyasha until the seventh hole when he hit his approach over the green, made double bogey and I was able to make an uphill four-footer for birdie," said Odaiyar, who finished third last year and was runner-up in 2008. "From that point on, I was feeling good. My putter got hot. This was the one [title] I had been waiting for. It was a long time coming."

The Women's Independent Division crown was captured by Cal State Monterey Bay senior Cicilia Chudivan, a native of Indonesia, who finished with a textbook 72 on the Ryder Course for a 54-hole total of 220.

"This tournament is a good experience, allowing you to meet new people, and it's such a great experience for international players and minority students," said Chudivan, who has plans of pursuing a Futures Tour berth after she spends the next two years earning a master's in business administration degree.

The PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship 
Founded in 1986 and first conducted in 1987 at Cleveland, Ohio at Highland Park Golf Course, the Championship elevates the game of golf in minority colleges and universities by giving student-athletes an opportunity to compete in a national championship conducted by The PGA of America. In 2006, The PGA of America was granted ownership and management of the Championship by the National Minority Collegiate Golf Scholarship Fund. The Championship is supported by State Farm Insurance.

About The PGA of America 
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.

By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry.

By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.

To access the final scores: http://images.pgalinks.com/vmc/pressReleases/051110_MinorityChamp_FinalScores.pdf


Back to top
| Back to home page

White House Live Stream
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Sounds Make the News ®
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News