History was made this week at Avalon Lakes Golf Course as Andrew Riley won the NCAA Division II National Individual Championship on Wednesday. The title is the first NCAA National Championship in the history of Palm Beach Atlantic University.
“Special is an understatement on this one,” Riley said. “I couldn’t have done it without Coach Watson. We put in countless hours over the last two years, and we keep growing stronger together. I want to give special thanks to my family and girlfriend. They have been with me in this journey every step of the way and I couldn’t do it without them.”
The sophomore made three birdies and an eagle without recording a bogey in Wednesday’s final round, finishing with a score of 67 (-5). That was enough to overcome the field by two strokes and win PBA’s first NCAA National Championship since the department joined Division II before the 2007-08 academic year.
“We have had so many magnificent teams at PBA that have gotten so close to winning a national championship,” PBA head golf coach Craig Watson said. “We are so humbled to have been the first team to have won one. We are so blessed that this was God’s plan for us and for Andrew.”
The Creekside High School product started the week on Monday with another bogey-less round. He shot a 67 (-5) with three birdies and an eagle to finish the first day of play tied for second place.
Riley was cruising to start the second round on Tuesday. He birdied three holes on the front nine and eagled hole 11, taking a momentary lead. Fatigue started to play a factor with three bogeys in the next four holes knocking him back down to second place. He finished Tuesday with a 70 (-2), where he sat one stroke behind the leader.
The biggest shot of Wednesday’s final round came on hole 14. Riley chipped in for an eagle off the green on Monday but had bogeyed the hole on Tuesday. He was able to repeat Monday’s magic, earning an eagle that gave him a two-stroke lead over the field which was enough to carry him the rest of the way.
Riley’s three-round total of 204 ties his performance from the NCAA South/Southeast Region Tournament last week. The mark is the second-lowest three-round score in program history. Riley earned the opportunity to compete in the National Championship as an individual by winning the NCAA South/Southeast Regional Tournament.
Riley earned NCAA Division II Ping All-South Region honors on Thursday last week. He was named an All-Sunshine State Conference honoree for the second consecutive year earlier this month.