(Augusta, GA) -- Fresh off a successful 2012 season, Paine College Head Golf Coach Herman Belton readies the Paine College Lions Golf team for an even bigger tournament. The Lions Golf Team will compete in the 26th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in Port St. Lucie, Florida on May 11-13.
The Lions recently thrashed the competition in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SIAC) Golf Classic after a strong finish in the final round on April 24 at the Jones Creek Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The Lions shot a team score of 340 for a two-day total of 678 to capture the title, resulting in the first SIAC Conference golf title in the College’s history.
Freshmen Carlos Solis and Victor Tapia, who shot the two best scores of the tournament at 155 and 156 respectively, received big honors. Solis was named SIAC Player of the Year, SIAC Freshman of the Year, and Tournament MVP. Freshman Patrick Mobley was also a top ten finisher scoring (175, 7th).
“We were very happy with the win. I think we have great momentum going into the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in May,” Tapia said.
“I feel honored to have received the recognition, “ Solis said. “The team is in a good place to make a solid appearance at in Florida.”
Belton was also named SIAC Coach of the Year. He credits is honor to the young men that he coaches. “It has been an honor to lead the team to a championship in just my first year at Paine, but make no mistake, the reason is not me but the young men playing, “ Belton said.
“Coach Belton has supported us with and his advice has been extremely helpful. We are grateful to have him and he is deserving of the award he received,” Solis said.
Both Tapia and Solis were also named to the All-SIAC first team and the All-Tournament team.
Augusta native and honorary chair of the Paine College Golf tournament Jim Dent is elated for the team’s success. “This win is historic for the team and they have an awesome coach,” Dent said. Dent a Champions Tour winner and Georgia Golf Hall of Famer has viewed himself as a solid supporter of the team. He only offers words of wisdom when it comes to their upcoming appearance in the PGA Minority Golf Championships in May. “Always be positive and go out and play the golf course and not the man with you,“ he said.
This journey is an amazing journey for the Lions and they have the full support of the College and the Augusta Community. Gregg Hemann, Director of Operations for Jones Creek Golf Club has seen the team come full circle. “We are very proud and extremely pleased to see the level of success attained by the Paine College Golf team since forming this relationship,” Hemann said.
The team has garnered the support of Jones Creek Golf Club in recent years. The Course plays host to the golf team and the golf tournament that supports the golf program at Paine. “Our number one priority was to assist with providing the team a great training facility that allows them to be competitive,” Hemann said.
The road to Port St. Lucie, Florida should be an exciting one for the team says Athletic Director, Tim Duncan. The 54-hole, stroke-play event features competition in NCAA Division I, Division II and women's classifications, as well as for individual men and women.
“I was impressed with Coach Belton,” Duncan said. “To take over a program mid- year and recruit a new team of this caliber showcases how great of a coach he is.”
Coach Belton is no stranger to the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship. He coached the 2004 tournament winners, Benedict College. Belton is also the only HBCU coach that has coached medalist in both Division I and Division II, Demond Hill of Benedict College in 2004 and Roberto Cacho of South Carolina State University in 2009.
Duncan, who is closing out his first year as the Athletic Director at Paine College is proud of the coach and team, but elated about the continued support of the Augusta Community.
“The community has supported the team through Paine College Golf tournament and the proceeds have assisted with scholarship and travel,” he said. “Going into the prestigious PGA tournament it’s important for our community to know we have exceptional student athletes that are also strong academically.”
26TH PGA MINORITY COLLEGIATE GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
May 11 – 13
PGA Golf Club
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
4Th Annual Paine College Golf Tournament
August 27, 2012
To Be Announced
Photo caption: (left to right): Patrick Mobley, Ralph Godbee, Coach Herman Belton, Victor Tapia, Keith Godbee and Carlos Silos. Not Pictured: John Hyer and Patrick Lillis.
For more information or interviews contact the Office of Sports Information at (706) 945-1358 or Kmay@paine.edu. Visit www.paineathletics.com for updates.