Just 45 days after suffering a stroke, former Ram Steve Gilley advanced to the sectional stage of U.S. Open qualifying.

Steve Gilley probably assumed the 55 he shot in 2005 would be the most memorable round of golf in his life. But that’s not true anymore.

In May, former VCU golfer Steve Gilley, 40, fired a 3-under 69 at U.S. Open qualifying at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas just 45 days after suffering a stroke. The round advanced Gilley into the sectional stage of U.S. Open qualifying Monday in Houston. He had tried, and failed, to qualify 13 times prior to his 69 at Miramont.

On the morning of March 31, he was on the second fairway at his home course in The Woodlands when he realized that he couldn’t see the green 150 yards away. He tried to press on, but quit when he realized he had no feeling or grip pressure in his right hand.

“It was really scary,” he said of the diagnosis. Men in their early forties don’t have strokes, or so he assumed.

Hospitalized for the better part of a week with IVs and oxygen and one test after another, Gilley wasn’t sure he would regain function in his right arm. His doctor told him that if all went well he might play golf again, but not at a high level.

“You don’t play golf for a living, do you?” the doctor asked.

“Well, yeah, I have for the last 15 years,” Gilley said. “It’s all I’ve done.”

“You probably won’t be able to do that anymore,” he was told.


Gilley, a native of Eden, N.C. played at VCU from 1993-94. He’s currently the assistant golf course superintendent at The Woodlands Country Club in Houston, Texas. In addition to his day job, Gilley has played golf professionally on a number of smaller tours, the Hooters and Nationwide, to name a couple, for the better part of the last 15 years. In 2006, he won his first Hooters Tour event and finished eighth on its money list.

Prior to his recent post-stroke gem, Gilley’s career highlight was the 55 he carded at Lynwood Golf and Country Club in Martinsville, Va., the lowest verified round recorded on a regulation course.

Here’s Houston TV station KHOU’s take on Gilley’s recent feat.