Category - Amateur Programs

Sam Houston State University Leads by Four Following First Round of 2023 PGA University Championship

By Greg Dillard
Published on

(Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)

Leading after the first round of the 2023 PGA University Championship is undoubtedly a positive for Sam Houston State University. However, the Bearkats are fully focused on their next hurdle — clinch the victory on Wednesday. 
SHSU (3-over par 291) owns a four-stroke lead over Mississippi State University (7-over par 295) following Tuesday’s opening round at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Philadelphia, Miss.
Florida Gulf Coast University (10-over par 298) sits in third place with UNLV (11-over par 299) in fourth. Penn State University (14-over par 302) and University of Nebraska (14-over par 302) are tied for fifth. 
Bret Gray (5-under par 67), Josh German (1-under par 71), Grant Greathouse (even par 72) and Camden Anderson (9-over par 81) recorded SHSU’s four best scores. Tanner Dorsey shot 11-over par 83. 
“It’s just a good start,” said SHSU PGA Golf Management Program Director Dr. Rich Ballinger, PGA. “We’re only halfway through. There are some really good teams behind us, which are going to come out and play well. We’re in a good position, but we’ve got a long way to go.” 
Gray, a junior at SHSU, sits atop the individual leaderboard after posting the low round of the day on Tuesday. 
“He is as solid as a rock,” said Ballinger. “He very rarely makes a mistake. He hits it solid all the time. He hits it straight. He has a great short game and he’s a good putter.”
After shooting 1-under on the front nine, Gray’s back nine started with a bang thanks to an eagle on the par-5, 529-yard 10th and a birdie on the par-4, 386-yard 11th hole. 
Gray attacked the 10th hole with a good tee shot that left him 253 yards uphill. 
“I hit this good four wood right at the pin,” said Gray. “It landed just on the front and trickled all the way back there just past the hole. I gave myself about seven feet and buried it.” 
Gray collected four consecutive pars on holes 12-15 before birdieing the par-3, 149-yard 16th and par-5, 527-yard 17th holes. His lone bogey on the back nine, and just second of the round, came on the par-4, 442-yard 18th.
“It was a pretty stress-free round of golf out there,” said Gray. “I think I missed three greens all day. I kept the ball on the right side of the hole. I hit my targets and hit good approaches to my spots. From there, I gave myself a lot of good birdie looks and some fell in.” 
Gray and his teammates will look to stay focused as they attempt to win on Wednesday.
“If we stay patient and stay true to ourselves, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance to bring this thing home,” said Gray.  
Jacob Berry (Mississippi State University) and Dan Polce (Florida Gulf Coast University) are tied for second on the individual leaderboard after shooting 4-under par 68s. Colin Beckett (Ferris State University) posted a 3-under par 69 to sit in fourth place. 
Berry, a junior at MSU, took advantage of his familiarity with Dancing Rabbit’s Azalea course, which is located just over an hour from campus. 
“I’ve been out here a few times before,” said Berry. “It always helps when you’re on a golf course and feel like you’re at home.”
UNLV Senior and 2022 medalist Chase Mitchell is T-10 after registering a 1-over par 73.
The 2023 PGA University Championship, supported by Srixon/Cleveland Golf, concludes on Wednesday at Dancing Rabbit. The final round is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT.
The 16-team field is competing for the Jones Cup, named after the first PGA Golf Management University Program Director at Mississippi State, Dr. S. Roland Jones, who held the position from 1985 until his passing in 1997. The event provides a platform for participants to display professionalism, integrity, character and camaraderie—all characteristics Dr. Jones instilled in PGA Golf Management students.
For more information about the 2023 PGA University Championship, visit the championship website.