Bethune-Cookman Men Claim PGA Minority National Title
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The Bethune-Cookman men’s golf team erased a four-stroke deficit on Sunday afternoon to claim a one shot victory over Texas-Pan American at the 27th Annual PGA National Minority Golf Championships presented by Brown Capital Management at The PGA Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The event took place on the Wanamaker Course.
The Wildcats led by 10 strokes on Friday, before trailing by four strokes on Saturday. That set the stage for a comeback for the Bethune-Cookman men’s golf team on Sunday. The Wildcats used great play from Ivybridge, England natives Ryan Fricker and Leon Fricker to help B-CU lay claim to the team title.
For B-CU, the team title is the first of its kind for the Maroon and Gold since 2011 when they were led by Matthew McKnight, who also laid claim to the individual title as a freshman.
With the women winning the title in playoff fashion on their side of the tournament, the men’s victory gave B-CU a sweep of the team trophies under head coach Loritz “Scooter” Clark, now finishing his third year at the helm in Daytona Beach.
“It was a long and a very stressful day out there,” said Clark after the women’s trophy presentation. “But both teams really grinded and I am just thrilled to take home both titles in this incredible tournament. It is really satisfying.”
Alabama State finished third on the men’s side, 12 strokes behind Bethune-Cookman. The Wildcats finished the 54-hole tournament with a team score of 883.
Ryan Fricker carded a final round score of one-under par 71 to end the weekend firing a one-under 215. The under-par tournament is the fifth of its kind on the campaign for the freshman, and gives him much-needed momentum heading into next week’s NCAA Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., where he will compete as an individual.
“We really didn’t play well yesterday and almost let the Championship slip away,” stated 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.”
Kevin Kirakossian, a senior on the UTPA squad, claimed medalist honors for the tournament.
The rest of the Bethune-Cookman scoring was aided by the entire team.
Leon Fricker, younger brother of Ryan and a fellow freshman fired a final round even-par 72, finishing the weekend with a five-over par 221 score. Junior Matthew McKnight of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, scored a final round four-over par 76 to end his 54-hole weekend with an eight-over par 224 scorecard.
Junior Emmanuel Petrich of Grand Blanc, Mich., finished his final round carding a four-over par 76, to end the weekend scoring a total 225. Senior Alex Clapp of Somerset, England finished with a total 231 after firing a final round of three-over par 75 on Sunday. For Clapp, the event marks the final tournament for the Englishman, as he rounds out his career with the Maroon and Gold as the lone senior on this year’s squad.
In the men’s independent division, JaMichael Jones, a junior from Chicago, finished out his 54-hole tournament tied in fifth place after scoring a 228 total. He ended Sunday’s final round at one-over par (73), tied alongside Alden Mark Davis of Southeastern in the final standings.
The PGA Minority Championship was the final team event for the Wildcats in 2012-13. Bethune-Cookman finished the year winning four tournaments, including the FAMU Spring Invitational, MEAC Showcase and SSU Tiger Fall Invitational.
The PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship presented by Brown Capital Management, which is celebrating its 27th edition this year, originated in November 1986 following the Jackson State University Golf Tournament, and has elevated golf in minority colleges and universities by providing opportunities to more players to compete in a national championship.
In 2006, The PGA of America was granted complete ownership and management of the championship by the National Minority Collegiate Golf Scholarship Fund.
For information and results on the 27th PGA National Minority Golf Championship, please log on to PGAtournaments.com.
For news and results on the B-CU men’s golf team, log on to BCUathletics.com and follow the team (@BCUgolf) on Twitter. You can join the conversation with the hashtag, #bcugolf. Make sure to “Like Us” on Facebook at Bethune-Cookman Athletics.