Rhyne Jones stood in wait at the Charlotte airport's baggage claim recently.
His golf clubs never came through on the conveyer belt, and even that did not draw any anxiety out of the rising Christ School senior.
"I wasn't too nervous about it," Jones said. "They were on the next flight."
With such composure, it's easy to see why Jones is believed to be the first Greenies player to qualify for the Junior PGA Championship tournament which will be July 31-Aug. 3 in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Longtime coach David Gaines said Jones has established a precedent for the private school program which has won two of the last three NCISAA 3-A titles. The two-time reigning Buncombe County champion earned an at-large exemption into the PGA event for his recent play at a qualifier, also in Indiana.
"I feel excited, I feel lucky to have an opportunity that not a lot of people get," Jones said. "I've been traveling all over (this summer). It's something that I really love."
Jones hails from Blowing Rock and earned NCISAA 3-A all-state, All-Carolinas Athletic Association and All-WNC honors as a junior after maintaining a stroke average of 74.3 for 18 holes.
Jones placed fourth at the NCISAA 3-A tournament by shooting 146 (73-73).
"This is a terrific achievement for Rhyne," Gaines said. "He is a guy who is just so consistent, and I love his approach to the game and his temperament for it. I can't think of a kid who I'd rather have as our senior leader (in 2013) than him. He is not only a great player but is genuinely interested in seeing the guys around him get better."
Purdue, San Diego State and Tennessee are among the colleges which have expressed interest in Jones.
"For him, he is working on making more putts this summer," Gaines said. "Rhyne is a consistent driver who hits great iron shots. He hits it to within eight to 18 feet of the flag so many times. To take his game to the next level, he's got to make those putts."