Category - Amateur Programs

Sam Houston State University Scores Dominant Victory at 2023 PGA University Championship

By Greg Dillard
Published on

(Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)

The wait is over for Sam Houston State University. 
Since its inception in 2005, the Sam Houston State University (SHSU) PGA Golf Management Program had been searching for its first win at the PGA University Championship. 
SHSU posted its second 3-over par 291 of the week to finish at 6-over par 582 and capture its first win by 15 shots on Wednesday at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Philadelphia, Mississippi. 
“This has always been one of those things that we wanted to accomplish,” said SHSU PGA Golf Management Program Director Dr. Rich Ballinger, PGA. “To be able to get it done after 18 years, we’re pumped about it. It’s pretty cool that we can say we’re a PGA of America National Champion as it relates to students.

"It means a lot to be able to get our name on that trophy and to say that we have won a student championship and possess the Jones Cup."

Dr. Rich Ballinger, PGA
Penn State University (21-over par 597) finished in second, followed by Mississippi State University (24-over par 600) and UNLV (24-over par 600), who tied for third. Methodist University (26-over par 602) finished fifth. 
Bret Gray (6-under par 66), Josh German (1-under par 71), Grant Greathouse (4-over par 76) and Camden Anderson (6-over par 78) led the charge for the Bearkats. Tanner Dorsey also shot 10-over par 82 on Wednesday. 
“Bret was outstanding,” said Ballinger. “He played excellent golf. Josh played a solid round. Grant got off to a little bit of a rough start then steadied the ship, which was huge for us. Camden came through and played better than he did yesterday.” 
Gray followed his opening-round 5-under par 67 with a flawless final-round performance. The SHSU junior registered six birdies en route to a bogey-free 66 to claim the individual title, and a Bill Cioffoletti Trophy in honor of the late PGA Member who played an instrumental role in the championship's development.
Bret Gray. (Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)
Bret Gray. (Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)
Gray birdied the par-5, 548-yard second; par-4, 412-yard third; par-5, 571-yard fifth; par-4, 405-yard 12th; par-3, 176-yard 13th and par-3, 149-yard 16th holes. 
“Today it looked stress-free on the scorecard, but there were a couple holes where I saved par from some pretty tough spots,” said Gray. “I think I shortsighted myself once or twice today, but luckily my short game saved me. I made a couple good par putts and kept it bogey free.”
Florida Gulf Coast University’s Dan Polce (3-under par 141) took second place on the individual leaderboard after posting a 1-over par 73 on Wednesday. SHSU’s German (2-under par 142) was third followed by Mississippi State University’s Jacob Berry (1-under par 143). 
German, who started on the second hole, overcame a pair of front-nine bogeys by registering birdies on the par-4, 386-yard 11th; par-4, 405-yard 12th; and par-4, 385-yard first holes. 
“I stayed patient and knew I would have opportunities on the back nine,” said German. “I took advantage when I could and slowly brought the round back under par. I knew that if I stayed steady, made some pars and found a birdie or two, that we would hold on and we did.”
(Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)
(Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)
SHSU outlasted the 16-team field to win 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. 
For more information about the 2023 PGA University Championship, visit the championship website.