MANISTIQUE - When former Manistique High School student-athlete Mike Nagy was recruited and signed by the University of Tennessee to play NCAA Division I golf, there may have been a few people who wondered if a teenager from the Upper Peninsula with about a six-month golf season could play at that level.
If his first collegiate tournament is any indication, the answer is "yes."
Nagy, 19, played in the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic in Rocky Face, Ga., over the weekend. The event was held at "The Farm Golf Club," course that plays to a slope rating of 151.
Out of a field of 78 golfers from 15 different schools, Nagy shot rounds of 70-71-73 (for a 2-under par 214), good for 11th place.
Nagy, the only freshmen among the five Volunteers to make the trip, was the low man for Tennessee.
"Mike played incredibly well for his first college match," University of Tennessee assistant coach Casey VanDamme said.
"His ball-striking, course management and short game were super. I was very impressed."
Nagy played as the No. 5 man for the Vols, but after three days and 54 holes, he was the only team member to shoot under par.
"Coach Jim Kelson told me that in his 14 years at Tennessee, this was the best performance he'd ever seen from a freshmen in his first match," VanDamme said.
"He's thrilled at Mike's performance and excited about his potential to keep getting better. Mike probably beat half a dozen guys who were Division I All-Americans last year. I knew Mike was good, but I didn't know he was this good."
Nagy holds virtually every golf record in Manistique, both at his high school and at his home course, the Indian Lake Golf and Country Club. He had won four club championships in a row, finishing in 2011, when he recorded a 60 for 18 holes, 12-under-par.
"Mike has all the tools necessary to become a really special player for us," said VanDamme, who followed him for nearly every shot over the three-day tournament.
Brandon Stone led Texas to the team title at the tournament, shooting 69-63-72 (204). Tennessee took eighth place among the 15 teams.
Nagy and the Vols next tee it up at the Windon Memorial tournament in Chicago on Sept 23-24.