Plenty of times, Evan Usry has gone lower than the round of even-par 72 he shot at the 2010 GHSA Class AAAAA State Tournament.
Considering, though, he played the round in heavy rain and high wind, along with the pressure of state competition, he said it might just be the best round of golf he ever played.
By taking third, individually, and helping the Greenbrier boys team finish runner-up as just a sophomore, Usry showed his potential.
On Thursday afternoon, he took the next step in realizing that potential, signing a national letter of intent to play at Mercer University.
Along with the allure of playing Division I golf, the university’s stellar academic reputation attracted Usry.
“Mercer stuck out because it’s awesome academically,” he said. “Plus, the golf team is building and there’s a new coach. It’s going in a really good direction.”
Last season, as a junior, Usry carried a nine-hole stroke average of roughly 38. Among its seniors who graduated in 2011, the team featured four college recruits on the boys side and two more on the girls side.
Greenbrier finished fifth at state in 2011.
Usry appreciated being a part of a special group.
“I’ve played with them for a while,” he said. “They really taught me so much about course management and just how to lower your scores.”
Usry, a long driver with a deft touch on the greens, picked up the sport at age 3 and started playing tournaments four years later.
When he’s not practicing or playing at his home course, he’s playing tournaments.
He’s competed in numerous Southeastern Junior Golf Tour events and a handful on the American Junior Golf Tour. It was at the SJGT events where he developed confidence.
“I started playing Southeastern tournaments, and I started getting Top 5s,” Usry said. “I was like, ‘OK, well maybe I have a chance of playing college golf.”
College coaches covet talented players, and Usry certainly qualifies, said Greenbrier coach Alex Heider.
But he also has other qualities that made him a desirable recruit.
“The great thing about Evan is that he’s a joy,” Heider said. “He enjoys the game of golf. He works on the game of golf. But he also lives life in a great way. … Character-wise, he’s the guy you want on your team.”