PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – A pair of 3-under-par 69s stole the show during the second round of the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship presented by CastleOak Securities. The Championship’s 31st edition is being held on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker and Ryder Courses in Port St. Lucie. Sunday marks the final round of the 54-hole, stroke-play event, which features six divisions.
After carding an opening-round, 1-under-par 71, the University of Connecticut’s Nabeel Khan (140) improved by two strokes on Saturday, thanks to birdies at three of his first four holes, to gain control of first place in the Men’s Individual Invitational. Defending champion and Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Siyan Liu, who trailed Khan by three heading into the day, kept pace with a 69 of his own (143). First-round leader Devery Stewart (Corban University) shot a 77 and fell to third place (147).
“I started off really well” said Khan, who will spend his summer caddying at the Jack Nicklaus-founded Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. “It was a confidence booster for sure. You can make birdies anywhere in the round but to get off to a strong start really had me going steady.”
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Tiana Jones posted a 2-over-par 74 (150) to take sole possession of first place in the Women’s Individual Invitational. Trailing by six strokes in second place is the University of West Alabama’s Kaitlyn Rose (156), who shared the first-round lead with Jones.
“I remained a bit more consistent today than yesterday,” said Jones, who studies in UMES’s PGA Golf Management University Program. “I really wasn’t focusing on my competitors or how many strokes I was gaining. I was just trying to go as low as I possibly could.
“If I’m leading, I will tell myself that I’m down to keep pushing myself.”
Sunday’s final round will begin with the Bethune-Cookman men (583) holding a commanding 18-stroke advantage over the University of the Incarnate Word (601) in Men’s Division I. Bethune-Cookman’s Sam Sloman, who was the lone Men’s Division I player to break par during round one (71), turned in a second-round, 2-over-par 74. Incarnate Word’s Cole Solis bounced back from a round-one 81 with a 3-under-par 69, joining Khan and Liu as the only players to break 70 on Saturday.
The Bethune-Cookman women strengthened their grasp on first place in the Women’s Division with a 297 in round two (592). Mackenzie Butzer, who carded Friday’s low-Championship round with a 69, followed up with a 3-over-par 75. Her teammate, Alejandra Sanchez, turned in Saturday’s low Women’s Division score with an even-par 72. Incarnate Word’s women remained in second place with a 304 (605).
A day-two shuffle occurred on the Men’s Division II leaderboard, as the University of West Alabama’s round-two 303 slid the Tigers into first place (616). Trailing by five strokes in second place are the two-time defending champion Cal State-Dominguez Hills Toros, paced by Andrew Banuelos’s second-round, even-par 72.
“We executed our game plan better today,” said Brian Williamson, Head Coach at the University of West Alabama. “I think the conditions were tougher today, but our focus was much better. We had what I call the three Cs: confidence, concentration and composure. You’ve gotta have all of them to compete at this level and on this type of golf course.”
The University of Houston-Victoria’s James Rollins fired a 1-under-par 71 on the Wanamaker, leading the way for the Jaguars, whose two-day total (621) is atop the NAIA Division leaderboard. Rollins and teammate Juan David Coy are tied (152) heading into Sunday’s final round with the NAIA Division medalist on the line.
The PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship presented by CastleOak Securities has elevated golf in minority colleges and universities by providing opportunities for players to compete in a national championship. In 2006, the PGA of America was granted complete ownership and management by the National Minority Collegiate Golf Scholarship Fund.
“We’re enjoying it,” said Williamson, who coached the University of Houston-Victoria the past three Championships. “It’s a magnificent event on a great golf course and a great setting.”