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Broc Everett answer questions during a news conference with media Wednesday at TPC Deere Run. Everett won the NCAA Championship in late May. Everett will play in his first PGA Tour event this week at the John Deere Classic.

Broc Everett has received plenty of pats on the back, congratulatory text messages and phone calls the past six weeks since his stunning win at the NCAA individual stroke play championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

"It has been fun," said Everett, a West Des Moines Valley graduate who just closed his career at Augusta University. "It's been an exciting time, just all the opportunities that have been coming my way."

Less than 24 hours after his victory, John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson called Everett to extend him an invitation into this year's event.

Everett will make his PGA Tour debut today at TPC Deere Run, something he never could have fathomed five years ago. 

"Being from Iowa, this is the event that every Iowan kind of holds in the highest regard," Everett said. 

The southpaw's story is unusual. 

He was a four-sport athlete at West Des Moines Valley — golf, basketball, track and baseball along with participating in choir, mock trial and taking Advanced Placement courses. 

Coming out of high school, he had only two college golf programs show interest in him: South Dakota State and Augusta.

Everett was very inconsistent early in his career. In fact, when Augusta coach Jack O'Keefe inherited the program, he was told by former interim coach Kory Henkes not to expect much from Everett.

He eventually earned a starting spot in Augusta's lineup and compiled a slew of top-10 finishes.

Still, his first college victory didn't come until his final collegiate event. Everett outlasted Auburn freshman Brandon Mancheno in a one-hole playoff to secure the NCAA championship. 

"When you look three years back, I was improving so much I knew I could start to compete with these guys at the collegiate level," Everett said. 

Everett has had plenty of influences. He has formed a friendship with PGA Tour member Wesley Bryan, who practices at the Augusta facility. 

"He's always been pushing me," said Everett, who worked Tuesday's youth clinic with Bryan.

After his breakthrough win, Everett immediately went to Vancouver to play on the Mackenzie Tour (Canadian Tour). In hindsight, Everett said he should have taken the week off. 

"It was just so much so fast," he said. "I was prepared to go up to Canada, but I wasn't prepared to go up to Canada with all the opportunities that had been thrown out to me right away after winning nationals."

Everett has had an opportunity to catch his breath in recent weeks.

He's soaked in the perks of the PGA Tour life this week and has had a chance to meet several of the players.

Everett will try to beat them starting today, with O'Keefe on his bag. 

"Coach and I have a good game plan," he said. "We're just going to go out there and do all the same stuff we were doing at regionals and nationals at the end of the season."

Veteran Steve Stricker offered some advice. 

"The biggest thing I've learned over my career is to be yourself," Stricker said. "So many times, the young players watch someone else playing and you're like, 'Wow, I want to be that guy; I want to hit it like that.'

"You've got to just stay true to yourself and be the player you are and do the things you know you're good at and keep trying to improve those things."

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.