Nevin transitioning to team play, American life

Rhys Nevin in an interview on February 21, 2017.

In collegiate golf, teams bring six players to the tournaments: five to the team portion and one extra golfer for the individual portion.

Rhys Nevin, a freshman golfer from Cheshire, England, has participated in three tournaments at Tennessee, but he has never participated in the team portion.

However, this weekend, Nevin will have a chance to take advantage of an opportunity he has been seeking.

Nevin will be a part of the five-man team that the Vols will take to their tournament in Florida this weekend. 

"To break into the team makes me want to play well even more than usual," Nevin said.

Before coming to Tennessee, Nevin enjoyed a good deal of success in Europe. Some of his accolades included placing runner-up at the 2014 Daily Telegraph Junior Championship, earning third place at the 2015 Henry Cooper Junior Masters and winning the tournament title at the 2015 Northern England Country Championship.

His impressive play was a part of the 2016 class head coach Jim Kelson is very high on, calling it "one of the strongest recruiting classes" in his 24-year coaching career. 

Coming from England, the adjustment to American culture has not been difficult for Nevin.

"His first couple weeks he had questions, and I tried to guide him a little bit," teammate Lorenzo Scalise said. "He has done very well in his transition." 

Nevin loves the food, the places and he is surrounded by good people, which help make the shift easy for him. 

A weird twist to this is the relation of Knoxville to Cheshire; according to Nevin, Knoxville "wasn't too different" from home.

"American food, I like it," Nevin said. "The steaks, the BBQ and being down south as well is nice."

This relatively smooth change has made it easier on the golf course, and it actually has him primed to take advantage of a golden opportunity this weekend in Florida. 

While at home during the break, Nevin worked on his game with his coaches and wanted to improve his play for the spring semester.

In addition to applying what he learned with his coaches back home, Coach Kelson has also been important in Nevin’s improvement.

"My game is a lot better now than it was in the fall," Nevin said. "Hopefully it shows this week."

As a golfer, Nevin has been praised by his teammates for his great putting stroke on the greens. With only three tournaments under his belt, experience will be critical for him going forward.

Coaches and teammates have shown the confidence they have in Nevin, and Coach Kelson has helped Nevin believe that he can have a Top-10 finish this season.

Now progressing, Nevin is looking to seize the moment. He didn't struggle in his move to America, so it's clear that he isn't afraid of this moment.

"His spot on the team after he competed as an individual last week, he deserved that and I think he is going to do very well," Scalise said.

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