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Lincoln, Bethune-Cookman on top once again at Minority Championship

Lincoln, Bethune-Cookman on top once again at Minority Championship

May 11th, 2014 in News

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - Bethune-Cookman swept the men's and women's titles for the second straight year Sunday in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship.

Bethune-Cookman won its seventh title in the Division I men's competition and its tournament-record 11th in the women's division, completing a sweep for the fourth time in the 54-hole event.

And there was more repetition in the Division II men's event, as the Lincoln Blue Tigers won their second consecutive championship. Gary Natal of Texas A&M International won medalist honors in the division, edging Steven Mallow of Lincoln on the first playoff hole. Both of them had posted three-day scores of 220.

"This championship is always tight and hard-fought, with the championship really starting on the back nine on Sunday," Bethune-Cookman coach Scooter Clark said. "The women's team came together well this weekend and I'm really proud of how both teams performed. It's incredibly satisfying as a coach."

The women's team, tied with Chicago State after two rounds, had a 4-over 292 total in the finale on PGA Golf Club's Ryder Course to win by six strokes. Chicago State was second, followed by Houston-Victoria. Heather Shake of the Houston-Victoria had three straight 74s to take medalist honors in the team division.

Lincoln University finished last in the eight-team women's race by posting a score of 1,078.

Payton Schooler led the Blue Tigers with a 234 (79-76-79), Sophia Pardalos had a 266 (81-92-93), Mackenzie Wilson added a 277 (88-97-92) and Lauren McHenry had a 301 (104-104-93).

In the men's tournament, Bethune-Cookman beat Florida A&M by eight strokes on the Wanamaker Course. Alabama State University was third, 11 strokes back of Bethune-Cookman.

Rafael Abad led Bethune Cookman, closing with a 1-under 71 for a 2-over 218 total.

"It was very close at the end, but our team pulled it out," Abad said. "This is the best year of golf I've ever had and it feels great to win as a team."

Bethune-Cookman and Alabama State will compete in the NCAA regionals next week.

Dominick Vennari of Florida A&M was the medalist, shooting a 69 to finish at 1-under 215.

In Division II, Lincoln won its sixth title, beating Texas A&M International by a shot, 893-894.

Mallow posted rounds of 71, 75 and 74 to pace the Blue Tigers. Other competitors for Lincoln who finished all three rounds were Nick Goeke (74-71-77-222), Blake Lammers (76-76-74-226) and Austin Wheeler (79-87-81-247). Brian Lillevold, who had led the event after both of the first two rounds after posting a 70 and a 74, was disqualified for the final round. His scores still counted for the team's total the first two days.

In the women's individual invitational, Tiana Jones of South Carolina State chipped in for birdie on the 54th hole to beat teammate Cheryl Chua by a stroke.

Alabama State's Robert Grant won the men's individual invitational for the second straight year, shooting a 74 to finish at 6 over. Justin Watkins of Central Oklahoma, the 2012 winner, was a stroke back.

"It's an incredible honor to win this championship for a second time," Grant said. "It was a battle all day and I feel fortunate to have won."

In the men's NAIA division, Houston-Victoria won the team title, and Steve Jones of Houston-Victoria was the medalist, closing with a 70 for a 218 total.