Gray finds home-and-away blend at EvansvilleNovember 15, 2013
By BRENDAN PERKINS
Herald Sports Editor
Tyler Gray isn’t a fan of this recent raid of pre-winter chill. If it were up to the Southridge High School senior, it would be all golf weather, all the time.
“That would be perfect,” said Gray, who copes in the winter months with a hitting net in the family garage and a putting green in the basement. “I don’t like the cold. It’s not a fun time for me,” he finished, laughing.
With that in mind, Gray thinks he located a middle ground when it came to selecting a new home for college golf.
Gray said he would have liked to go south for school, but knew he’d get homesick. Staying in the northern coordinates still had some allure, though, when Gray considered what sort of golf backdrops he could experience playing for the University of Evansville. He signed with the Purple Aces this morning, inking a national letter of intent in a ceremony at SHS.
“They play Victoria National (in Newburgh) and a bunch of other great golf courses,” said Gray, who’s considering a field of study in business or marketing.
“I know they just stopped back from North Carolina, and then they go in the beginning of spring down to Florida for a couple weeks. It’s not like some of the big schools where they go all over the country, but they get south for a good part of the season.”
That was part of UE’s draw, as was the instant connection Gray felt with coach Jim Hamilton, who’s the former co-owner of Hamilton Golf Course in Evansville and the son of 1944 PGA Championship winner Bob Hamilton.
Hamilton intimated to Gray that he wanted someone who can jump in and contribute right away, “so hopefully I can fulfill that,” Gray said.
If his college career is an echo of his stay at Southridge, then Gray should be just fine.
As a freshman, he finished second individually at sectional, and he was the individual medalist of the Pocket Athletic Conference meet as a freshman and sophomore. He logged third-place finishes at the sectional the last two seasons and landed his first individual berth in the state finals a few months ago as a junior.
Gray’s already completed a test run with his future team, and he feels good about where he’s situated.
“I went down for a visit and played with them, and they have some good players,” said Gray, the son of Tony and Donna Gray of Huntingburg. “I would say the biggest thing for me before I get there is just getting physically stronger. It may not seem like it with golf, but it helps a lot. It’s more (building) consistency. That would be the main goal.”
Purdue and Dayton were also on Gray’s radar before he found everything he wanted at UE: an hour away, a chance to sample a variety of courses, and the realization of a Division I dream, which was Gray’s blueprint all along.
“That was always the No. 1 goal of choosing a place to go play,” Gray said. “I really didn’t want to go D-II or D-III or anything like that. I’m excited about it.”
Contact Brendan Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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