From D3 to Dalhousie, Alex Price doesn’t miss a step in taking the lead for LSU

As Alex Price points out, golfers tend to like golf courses that are similar to what they grew up on. That was top of mind on Monday for the LSU super senior as he worked his way around Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Missouri – twice – and made 12 birdies and two eagles in the process.

“I’ve always been comfortable and have loved golf that sets up like this,” he said of an undulating Midwest gem. “It’s what I’m familiar with and it’s where I learned to play. I’m always going to love that, and on top of it, there’s a lot of fun shots and cool holes (at Dalhousie). It’s in great shape, too.”

Price is making his first start with LSU this week at the Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff after playing the past four seasons for Christopher Newport, an NCAA Div. III school in Newport News, Virginia.

Only three of the 12 teams in the Dalhousie field finished all 36 holes on Monday as lightning forced play to be called late in the afternoon. Price made it through 35 holes and at 13 under, leads Missouri’s Jack Lundin by four shots. Price also accounts for a considerable amount of LSU’s 20-under team score. The next-closest team is Stetson at 12 under with Missouri at 7 under.

Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff: Team leaderboard | Individual

“A lot of really good things happened,” LSU head coach Chuck Winstead said of opening day. “Alex played great obviously, it was fun to see Connor (Gaunt) play good and Cohen (Trolio) bounce back after his first 18. He came back and played the way he can.”

Price, Gaunt and Trolio are all in the top 10 individually, but it was certainly Price who stole the show.

The veteran newcomer, who tied teammate Luke Haskew for the top spot in LSU qualifying, opened the day at Dalhousie with four birdies and an eagle in his first six holes. On his first nine, Price felt like every shot he tried to hit, he hit. The day progressed nicely from there. He was bogey free for the 17 holes he completed in his second round.

“I’ve been playing a lot better,” Price said. “The last two or three weeks, I haven’t played great but I started to find some feels that feel better and I’ve been hitting it better and better. Came out today feeling good.”

Price, a native of Hillsboro, Virginia, was an intriguing player for many programs upon entering the transfer portal for a fifth year. He left Christopher Newport last spring as one of the most successful players in school history, with staggering numbers to prove it.

He was the recipient of the Div. III Jack Nicklaus Award after winning three times in his senior season, which culminated in a runner-up finish at the NCAA Div. III Championship. Price put together a won-loss record of 1,020 to 15 over 26 competitive rounds as a senior, and that came after a quarterfinal run in the 2022 U.S. Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. Remarkably, he was No. 1,212 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings then. Now he’s closing in on the top 200.

LSU had the kind of environment that Price felt could take him to the next level.

“Almost every athlete who goes to LSU goes to LSU knowing this isn’t going to be their last step,” he said. “They’re coming here as a step to play professionally. I’ve always loved that attitude.”

Price felt he was alone in that desire at Christopher Newport, but at LSU he’d be the odd one out if he didn’t think that way.

Regarding Price’s transition between divisions, Winstead’s feeling is that the ball doesn’t know what NCAA division a player is competing in anyway.

“If he continues to do his thing,” Winstead said, “we’ll do everything we can to make sure he obviously plays great tournaments and if there’s ways we can come beside him and help him into that next level, we want to do that.”

Price has found this weekend that his first start in Division I doesn’t feel all that different. It’s not as if he doesn’t know what it’s like at the top echelon of college and amateur golf, given his history in the U.S. Amateur plus starts this summer in the Sunnehanna Amateur, North and South Amateur, Southern Amateur and Eastern Amateur.

“You gotta treat every tournament the same,” he said, reiterating something his coaches have stressed. “It doesn’t feel that much different because I didn’t approach it any different. Even when you go out and play the U.S. Am, it’s not like I try and approach it any different.”

In the simplest terms, you also have to play the golf course in front of you. All the better if it feels like home.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek