OCEAN ISLAND BEACH, N.C. – Two months ago, Gray Townsend was unsure where he would play his college golf.
Townsend, a senior at Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, N.C., signed with Furman in November, but after the Paladins announced in February that the school would drop its men’s golf program after the spring season, Townsend asked for and was granted a release from his national letter of intent.
“It was a big surprise,” said Townsend, who is with his high school team competing in the Palmetto High School Championship Thursday-Saturday at various courses near the southern North Carolina coast.
“I think everyone, including myself, was in shock – my family, my friends and, of course, the alumni.”
Even after Furman announced its plan to reinstate the program a couple of weeks later, Townsend already had made up his mind – he was looking at other options, and shortly after decided on SMU, where he will be a preferred walk-on.
“It was kind of a big whirlwind,” said Townsend, who went from having a 50-percent athletic scholarship to no scholarship. “I was looking forward to Furman. They have a great program, but after everything happened I felt like I had to scramble to figure out my options as soon as possible, and SMU was the best option.”
Townsend said the ordeal wasn’t a huge distraction, and now he’s focused on helping the Furies win a second straight Palmetto Championship title, as well as a second consecutive NCISAA 3-A Championship.
Thursday, he shot 7-over 79 in the qualifying round at Ocean Ridge Plantation’s Lion’s Paw course.
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Here are some past headlines on the Furman situation: