Area prep golfer signs with Nevada
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
All of the golf tournaments Rhyne Jones has played paid off Wednesday with a college scholarship.
Jones, a Blowing Rock resident who attends Christ School in Asheville, signed a letter of intent to play golf at Nevada. Jones still has a spring schedule with Christ School before playing in some summer tournaments in 2013.
He’ll go to Reno, Nev., this fall.
“I like the West Coast,” Jones said. “I got along with the coach and the other players and I feel like it’s the best place for my game to improve.”
Jones took an unofficial visit in June, and then returned to Reno for an official visit in September. The combination of the campus mixed with the city of Reno sold Jones to play at Nevada.
“I really enjoyed the campus,” Jones said. “It was spectacular. That was a big attraction for me. Reno is a great city and the golf courses they play on are good. The campus stuck out with me.”
Jones established himself as one of the top junior golfers in the country after playing in some big tournaments. He golfed in the Hudson Junior Invitational in Ohio, and in the International Junior Masters in Buffalo, N.Y., last summer.
Jones has also golfed in tournaments in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. He’s credited his parents Jonathan and Debbie Jones, and his swing coach Bret James, for helping him play well in these tournaments.
When he’s not playing golf, a method that millions use to relax, Jones relaxes with friends in Blowing Rock to get away from the pressures of playing competitive golf.
“I hang out with friends when I’m home,” he said. “When I’m traveling, I’m away from friends. When I get home, I try to relax and hang out with the guys to get my mind off of things.”
Before he goes to Nevada, Jones will try to help Christ School win another North Carolina Independent State Athletic Association 3-A state championship. Christ School has won last year when his teammate Jeff Krieger finished first place, and Jones finished in a tie for fourth.
“We do have a team here and I’ve played for them all four years that I’ve been here,” Jones said. “We’ve been a successful program.”
Jones will also play in a tournament in Arizona in April in an effort to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Tournament. He would also like to qualify for the U.S. Open, which has amateurs and professionals.
Playing on the PGA tour is Jones’ dream.
“That is the ultimate goal,” Jones said. “It’s always been a dream of mine since I was playing. I’m definitely working towards it.”