"It feels greats to sign, but it was a tough decision," said Nelson. "I made a choice to give up baseball and pursue golf. That was extremely hard for me."
Purdy's golf team has benefited from Nelson's decision. The Eagles won their first golf district title last season and have set their sights even higher this year.
"Garen has worked hard to get this opportunity to continue playing golf on the college level," said Purdy golf coach Grant Young. "He has improved each and every season and as a result colleges took note."
Nelson was named to the All-Conference and All-District first teams last season and took first place in the Clever and Aurora tournaments.
"I started playing golf because it was a different kind of sport," said Nelson. "I was lucky enough to have the support of my family and the patience of Kevin Roller to help coach me."
Nelson also excels in the classroom with a 3.8 grade point average.
"We are really pleased to have Garen sign with us," said Independence golf coach Larry Forsythe. "He is an outstanding scholar and well respected young man. We are looking forward to having him on our team and to help him advance his golf game."
The family atmosphere is what drew Nelson to Independence College.
"Independence was the first school to really show interest in me," said Nelson. "When I met the coaching staff and toured the facilities, I felt comfortable and like I was at home."
Nelson plans to major in athletic training and minor in sports management.
"The best advice I can give others is to go and achieve your goals," said Nelson. "Don't sit back and expect everything to be given to you. You have to work for your accomplishments."
Nelson is the son of Kimberly and Bob Utter, of Purdy, and Todd and Sabrina Gralheer, of Cassville.