Entering with high expectations, Grayson Murray left his mark on NC high school golf

Entering with high expectations, Grayson Murray left his mark on NC high school golf

The golf community was stunned to learn of the death of PGA Tour player Grayson Murray on Saturday.

Murray, 30, died on Saturday morning, according to a statement from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, one day after withdrawing from the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Earlier this year, Murray won the Sony Open in Hawaii, but the mark Murray leaves on the game of golf extends to much earlier in his life.

A member of the Class of 2012 at Leesville Road High School, it was clear when Murray was a freshman he would be a force on the golf course. Going into high school, Murray had won three straight Callaway Junior World Championships. He was ranked No. 1 in his age group.

“Winning a Junior World Championship once is quite an achievement, but to do it three consecutive years puts him in another league,” Megan Mahoney told HighSchoolOT partner VYPE in 2009. Mahoney was the executive director of the San Diego Junior Golf Association, which holds the championship event.

Winning three straight world championships was a feat that one of Murray’s idols had accomplished — Tiger Woods. On Murray’s 15th birthday, Woods wrote him a letter and told him to “keep up the good work.”

Murray said at the time that he learned a lot about how to approach the game by watching Woods.

“I get nervous, but in a good way … if you don’t get nervous, it shows you don’t care,” Murray said. “If I am down, I know that as long as there are still holes to play on the course, there’s still a chance of winning.”

In 2010, as a sophomore at Leesville Road, Murray won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state championship. He shot a 4-under par 68 in the second and final round of the tournament at Pinehurst No. 8 to win the championship after entering the second day tied for the lead.

Murray finished the state championship tournament with a two-day combined score of 138.

Soon after winning the state title and at the age of 16, Murray shot a 5-under par 66 in the second round of the Rex Hospital Open, becoming the second youngest player to make the cut at a Nationwide Tour event. The only player who made the cut younger? Jordan Spieth.

The experience proved to be helpful in the future for Murray.

“I was obviously nervous. I didn’t have many expectations going into the week … I was nervous but the people said I had the biggest gallery out there, so that was cool,” Murray said in an interview with 99.9 FM The Fan after the event. “Guys were helping me out with good advice … Maybe a 16-year-old like me gets a little hot if I make a bogey but those guys are very calm with themselves. They do it for a living and they do it each week, so they’re pros at it.”

Murray did not win another NCHSAA state title, though he came close. After high school, he spent time at Wake Forest University, East Carolina University, and Arizona State University.

In 2016, he returned to the Rex Hospital Open where he finished in the top 10 of the event. He finished in the top 10 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am after that, and that sparked his professional career. He finished second on the Korn Ferry Tour money list and earned full status on the PGA Tour for the 2016-2017 season.

At the age of 23, Murray won the 2017 Barbasol Championship, posting a score of 68 in the final round. He finished 66th in the FedEx Cup that season.

Last year, Murray went back to the Korn Ferry Tour where he won two tournaments and finished fourth on the points list to get back on the PGA Tour this season. That led to his win in Hawaii earlier this year.

In his 30 years, Murray established himself as one of the best golfers to come out of North Carolina. His name will forever live in the record books of North Carolina high school sports.

Source: highschoolot.com