Baton Rouge, La. – In what turned out to be a Sun Belt Conference Showdown, Georgia State freshman Jonathan Grey lost a playoff to South Alabama’s Tyler Klava which would have sent Grey to the NCAA National Championship later this month. Grey shot a final round 1-under 71 at the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La., but a bogey at the last forced a playoff for the one individual spot to advance.

In the playoff, Grey hit his ball right and into the pine straw, while Klava hit the fairway. Klava was able to get on the green in two, while Grey punched out to 50 yards before getting on the green in three. Each two-putted the hole, sending Klava to nationals at the Capital City Club – Crabapple in nearby Alpharetta beginning May 28.

Starting on the back nine, Grey made a birdie at 16 and a bogey at 17 to go out in 36. On the front nine, he birdied the fourth and sixth before the ill-fated bogey at the last.

He finished the tournament at 2-over par and tied for sixth, the second best NCAA Regional finish by a Georgia State golfer in program history. Joel Sjoholm finished fifth in the 2008 NCAA Regional and advanced to the national championship. The 50th ranked golfer had opened play with rounds of 72 and 75 on Thursday and Friday.

The Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year finished the year with 12 top 25 finishes in 13 events, including three wins and three other top 10 finishes.

“I am so proud of Jonathan,” commented head coach Joe Inman. “Freshmen are not supposed to be in these types of situations and he stepped up all week long. The experience he got is going to help not only him, but our entire team for years to come.

“Obviously, he is disappointed right now, but when he is able to look back on the entire season, I think he will be proud of his play and how far he came. He is truly a special young man.”

Grey finished ahead of eight players ranked in the top 100 in the country, including five that were in the top 50.

Grey gave the Panthers a representative in the NCAA Regionals for the first time since Tom Sherreard made an individual appearance in 2010. As a team, Georgia State has made it in 11 of the last 15 years.

The Kent, England native finished the year with a 72.23 scoring average, the sixth lowest in a single season in school history, while compiling 21 of 38 rounds at par or better this year, second most in school history.

No. 2 Alabama overcame an eight-stroke deficit to win the regional at 4-over par, six strokes ahead of No. 10 Florida which finished at 10-over. The rest of the race for the top five spots was much closer as No. 17 LSU shot the second lowest round of the day on its home course to finish third at 26-over, followed by No. 38 Tennessee in fourth at 28-over. No. 50 Coastal Carolina advanced at 30-over, while No. 26 Houston and No. 47 South Alabama just missed a chance at 32-over.

Alabama’s Scott Strohmeyer, ranked 68th in the country, took low medalist honors, finishing the tournament at 4-under. Teammate Bobby Wyatt, ranked No. 15, finished second at 2-under following a final round 66. Florida’s Tyler McCumber and T.J. Vogel finished tied for third at 1-under, with Tennessee’s Oliver Goss finishing fifth at even par.

Grey will now return to England and is expected to play in some events for the English National Team this summer. He will look to qualify for the Walker Cup later this summer as one of the top amateurs in the world.