Qualifying for -- and playing in -- the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur offered Austin Vick a chance to play against the best high school golfers in the country. It also provided plenty of exposure in front of college coaches.
Additionally, the July event in Michigan afforded the Greenbrier senior an opportunity to get used to the big stage.
"It kind of helps you get your nerves in check," Vick said. "Just feeling all that pressure ... it makes you stronger mentally."
Greenbrier coach Tony Kramer believes Vick had the mental side of golf down long before the U.S. Junior Amateur. It's a characteristic college coaches couldn't ignore.
On Nov. 12, Vick signed a letter-of-intent to play golf at Kennesaw State University.
"I think they like his demeanor on the course, how he handles himself when he gets in a bad situation," Kramer said of Kennesaw's interest in Vick. "You can have all the talent in the world ... but it doesn't mean anything if you don't make wise decisions out there."
Vick's got the talent side down, too. He possesses a plus 2.5 handicap -- averaging 2- to 3-under -- and had a stroke average of 37.0 last season.
He could have gone to a less prominent program and been one of the top players right away, but wanted the challenge of earning a spot.
"It makes you better," Vick said of playing for a high-level program. "It's something I was looking for."
Vick played in numerous tournaments during the summer, when he caught the eye of Kennesaw coaches.
"I went for two visits up there, and I pretty much fell in love with the school and the area," he said. "I just felt like it was the place where I wanted to be."
One draw for the Greenbrier senior was that the Owls have four courses they play regularly, rather than one home course. That means more variety in yardages and layouts that players will see on a regular basis.
Vick said he plans to get his schoolwork in gear when he gets on campus before concentrating on his game.
"I want to make sure I get all that stuff in line before I really start to focus on the golf," he said. "Then, I'll just get to start practicing and hopefully get into most of the tournaments that we play in."
Vick is part of a talented senior class that already has two Division-I signees after Cody Shafer signed with Augusta State University.
Kramer said that other Greenbrier seniors likely will get looks from colleges, too, in the coming months.
"These guys, obviously last year they were juniors and runners-up in AAAAA in the state," Kramer said. "Everybody on that roster from last year is coming back, so they're going to have a great opportunity to contend for a possible state championship."
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