TSA's Gray signs to play with Coastal


As well as he can remember, Tyler Gray first started hitting golf balls when he was around 3 or 4 years. As one would expect from a child that age, he was doing it mainly for fun.

Gray got away from it for a couple of years before he took it up again when he was 8. That is when his father, Ryan, hooked him up with a swing coach, Matt McCarley, the professional at Camden Country Club.

Fast forward less than a decade and Gray has reached the point where he is going to be able to play college golf at the NCAA Division I level.

The Thomas Sumter Academy senior with Coastal Carolina University on Wednesday in a ceremony at Camden Country Club.

"It was just different when I stepped on the campus," Gray said when asked for his reason for choosing the Sun Belt Conference school located in Conway. "The school is located near the beach (Myrtle Beach), so there will be plenty to do.

"Also, the coaching staff is just great there."

Gray, who lives in Lugoff, said Coastal was the only school to officially offer him, that coming in September of 2016. He made a commitment when the offer came his way.

Other schools that were showing interest in him were the University of South Carolina, Elon, Francis Marion University and Furman.

Gray has had an outstanding career at Thomas Sumter. He began playing for the Generals in the seventh grade and has been an all-region performer since the eighth grade and an all-state performer since his freshman season.

He's won back-to-back SCISA individual golf state championships and has been the SCISA Player of the Year for all divisions the past two seasons as well.

Gray said the idea that he could play at the collegiate level started to come into focus for him just a few years ago.

"I was 13 or 14 when I really started to consider it," he said. "I really didn't take it as seriously as I should have before then, but I started practicing every day and practicing very hard."