It’s been awhile since Mississippi enjoyed regular success on the PGA Tour from the likes of Jim Gallagher, Jr. and Glen Day, but there may be some changes around the corner.
During the first two rounds of the PGA Tour’s Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach right outside of Jacksonville, Fla., two young Mississippi players have put their names in the middle of the $25 million dollar purse.
Currently, Chad Ramey is tied for seventh and Hayden Buckley missed the cut by one stroke, but both have interesting stories to tell in their rounds. Buckley’s hole-in-one on the iconic island-green 17th hole and Ramey’s later quadruple bogey on the same hole led to different rounds for each.
After graduating from Itawamba Agricultural High School and Mississippi State, Ramey turned professional in 2014. The Fulton native started on the PGA Tour Canada in 2017, playing well enough to earn a card to Korn Ferry Tour (former Nike and Web.com), where he won a professional tournament in the Live & Work in Maine Open on June 27, 2021. This victory led to a top 10 finish in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings, earning him a PGA Tour card for the 2022 season.
In March 2022, the Mississippi golfer claimed his first win on the PGA Tour at the Corales Puntacana Championship (formerly the Puerto Rico Open spot) with a total 271 score from four rounds. At the end of the season, Ramey earned $1.28 million and finished 102nd in the PGA standings, granting him another card for this year.
Ramey opened Thursday’s play at TPC Sawgrass with a bogey-free 8-under 64 to claim the top of the leaderboard. On Friday, the results were completely different as Ramey opened with a bogey but fought back to an even-par front nine of 36. Two birdies and bogey left him comfortably sitting at a 9-under lead in the second round until he came upon one of the toughest holes in golf.
With 150 yards, Ramey dropped two balls in the water and the end result was a quadruple bogey 7. It ended with a par on the 18th hole for a two day total of 139 (-5) and a tie for seventh place.
Buckley’s story is somewhat similar to Ramey’s with the exception being choice of college. After graduating from Tupelo High School, Buckley signed with University of Missouri where he enjoyed a successful career in the SEC.
He turned professional in 2018, but like Ramey, he started on PGA Tour Canada. Making 11 out of 12 cuts and winning the ATB Financial Classic in a 2019 playoff, Buckley earned his Korn Ferry Tour card.
In his second year on the Korn Ferry Tour, Buckley won the LECOM Suncoast Classic in February 2021 where the PGA Tour eventually granted Buckley a card.
At 27, Buckley finished right above Ramey on the 2022 PGA Tour standing with $1.3 million and 99th in standings. Currently, he is the 33rd in the standings with total earnings of $1.6 million so far
Buckley didn’t have an outstanding scorecard until the 17th where he knocked in a hole-in-one on the iconic waterhole. This led to a (+1) round of 73, which he would eventually miss the cut after the second round by one stroke with a 147 total.
Despite the woes for each at TPC Sawgrass, Mississippi golfers’ accomplishments are always exciting and the hope remains for Ramey’s success in the later rounds.