Steven Chervony no longer stargazing at Texas

UT Athletics

Steven Chervony no longer stargazing at Texas

College

Steven Chervony no longer stargazing at Texas

WINDERMERE, Fla. – Texas senior Steven Chervony has played with a lot of talent in his four seasons with the Longhorns.

As a freshman, he was on a Texas squad that included current PGA Tour golfer Beau Hossler, who won the Haskins Award that season while leading the Longhorns to a runner-up finish at the 2016 NCAA Championship. He played two seasons with Gavin Hall, and three with Scottie Scheffler and Doug Ghim, low amateurs in the U.S. Open and Masters, respectively.

“Those guys kicked my butt every day in practice and showed me what I needed to strive for,” Chervony said.

Chervony didn’t have a flashy junior-golf resume when signed with Texas out of Pine Crest School in Boca Raton, Fla., in the fall of 2014. Up until he competed in the NCAA Championship as a sophomore, every tournament he had played in college was the biggest tournament he had ever played in. In his first three seasons with the Longhorns, he managed just one top-10 finish.

But now four tournaments into his senior season, Chervony, who is tied for fourth through two rounds of the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational at Isleworth, has developed into a strong presence on this Texas team.

Texas head coach John Fields and assistant J.P. Hebert, who often walks with Chervony during rounds, have always known Chervony had what it takes to become a reliable scorer for the Longhorns. It just took Chervony some time to truly believe in his talent.

“The evolution of Steven Chervony is trusting what he does and believing what he does,” Fields said. “Multiple times in the past few years I’d have people come up to me and say, ‘I wish he knew just how good he is.’

“Now, we’re starting to see some abilities that measure up with some of the best players in the nation.”

After playing just four tournaments as a freshman – all of them as an individual – Chervony appeared in 14 events as a sophomore. He tied for third at the UT Longhorn Shootout, a 36-hole home event. Other than that, Chervony struggled to put everything together.

“He had trouble finishing a round, let alone a tournament,” Fields said.

During his sophomore season, he closed the Nike Golf Collegiate at Colonial in 79 to tie for 48th. That spring, he opened the Querencia Cabo Collegiate in 66-68 before firing a final-round 75 and finishing T-13. Last season, he had just three top 20s in 11 events.

But with time has come experience, and Chervony, an economics majors and the consensus smartest man on the team, has taken detailed notes all along the way. With advice from former Texas standout Kramer Hickok, Chervony has revamped the way he practices.

“I was doing drills, but they weren’t the right type of drills,” Chervony said “I wasn’t putting enough pressure on myself to help transfer that to the golf course.”

Chervony also has improved his self-confidence. Channeling his inner Hossler, one of the strongest players mentally that Chervony has ever been around, Chervony now understands how to manage his golf and be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“It’s OK to play well. It’s OK to shoot a low score. Sometimes you just have to get over that hurdle,” Chervony said.

It’s been a step-by-step process, Fields said, comparing Chervony to Jhonattan Vegas, a former Longhorns who has won multiple times now on Tour despite not being an All-American in college.

“Not everybody comes with the pedigree of Jordan Spieth or Beau Hossler, but if you’ve got your ears open and your eyes open, you have a chance to become somebody great if you’re around great people,” Fields said.

Chervony is called the “Par 3 King” among his teammates and coaches. Lately, he’s translated his ability to focus on par 3s to approach shots on par 4s and 5s. On Monday at Isleworth’s par-4 18th hole, Chervony showcased that skill, hitting a 5-iron from 205 yards that landed right next to the hole and ended up a few feet away.

His whole team was watching from the side of the green and let out a collective gasp when the ball nearly found the cup on the fly. A few minutes later, Chervony tapped in for birdie and a 4-under 68, which has him at 5 under for the tournament. Texas is even par as a team.

“The way he swings the golf club, from far away he looks like Tiger Woods,” said junior Spencer Soosman.

An other-worldly comparison, yes, but fitting for Chervony, who loves space and astronomy. He’s taken every astronomy class that he’s been allowed to at Texas. When he comes home to Florida, he often visits Kennedy Space Center, about an hour and a half away from his house. (He was just there this past summer.) He still owns a telescope, too.

As for his favorite planet? “Earth’s pretty good right now,” Chervony said.

Especially when you’re playing golf like Steven Chervony, who is no longer gazing at the stars in Austin.

He’s becoming one of them now.

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