Prep Signings: North's Collins to play golf at WSSU
Published 12:00 am Friday, May 27, 2011
By Ronnie Gallagher
SPENCER — North Rowan’s Kyle Collins’ future was mapped out at the age of five.
No one realized it at the time but when he visited his grandfather in Las Vegas as a little kid, a golfer was born.
“My grandfather got me started,” said Collins, who has accepted a scholarship to Winston-Salem State. “I picked it up pretty early. I always remember practicing my putting. I’d put a cup down and just hit it into the hole in the cup. I still do it to this day.”
Collins has played golf for Kelly Everhart for four years but this season, he had his sights set on impressing someone enough to get a scholarship.
He was shooting in the high-30s to low-40s over nine holes when he started looking at colleges.
“I was comparing my scores to all the colleges and thought Winston-Salem State would be the best fit,” he said.
Everhart called WSSU coach Robert Bethea but received no reply. Collins’ mother, Queen, also made contact.
Everhart chuckles at the day North was going to Chatham Central for a match and an excited Collins informed him that Bethea was coming. But Bethea was told to go to the wrong course and never saw Collins play.
“It may have been a good thing,” Everhart said. “It wasn’t one of Kyle’s better days. He was frustrated. But I think things work out for a reason.”
Bethea finally invited Collins up to Forsyth County for a visit at the Winston Lake course. On that day, he wasn’t frustrated. He played well.
“(Bethea) really liked my swing,” Collins smiled. “He basically signed me right there.”
He’s going to one of the CIAA’s top programs. The Rams finished second in the CIAA Championships and were third in the 25th PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championships in Florida.
“They’re pretty good. I’ve been following them,” Collins said.
Now, with a scholarship in his back pocket, Collins can improve on the game he loves and plan on his future.
“I think I can get a lot better, he said. “Since I was a kid, everybody said I had a pretty good swing. I didn’t think too much of it until this year. Now, I’ll play golf every day.”
Everhart thinks the real talent in Collins will emerge once he is at college. He called the Cavalier senior a seasonal golfer because he played football. Not much golf was played during the fall.
“I think his best golf is ahead of him,” Everhart said. “He’s got a really strong, powerful swing. When he plays every day, Kyle will be something special.”
Collins actually got off to a slow start. He said he wasn’t happy with his 86 in the county tournament, although he tied for top honors among North golfers.
“But he really came on at the end,” Everhart said.
In fact, although North didn’t qualify as a team for the 1A regionals, Collins joined teammates Jesse Pinkston and Dillon Mason as individual qualifiers.
Collins credits his short game.
“The strongest part of my game is my irons,” he said. “They’re really great right now.”
And so is life in the Collins’ family. Everhart proved to be a good coach. His mother, who, by the way, graduated from North with Everhart, proved to be a good recruiter.
“I’m the first one in my family to receive an athletic scholarship,” Collins said proudly.
There’s only one thing left to say about that.