May 25, 2011
Northwest golf graduates its first class
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Hard to believe, but it has been nearly four years since Northwest Missouri State's women's golf team teed off for the first time.
Back on Sept. 13, 2007, Bearcat coach Pat McLaughlin took the first shot with a ceremonious drive off the first tee at Mozingo Lake Golf Course in Maryville. His daughter, Megan, tracked the shot after flying in from South Carolina the night before to surprise her father. Megan had led the charge to form a club team at Northwest as a student in 2001.
Among the five teams and 31 players who took part in the first Bearcat Invitational that day were Jessica Feuerbach, a freshman from Iowa City, Iowa, and Erin Luchtel, a freshman from Lee's Summit, Mo. It was the first of more than 30 golf tournaments the two would play together during their collegiate careers at Northwest. Together they would lead their team to seven tournament victories.
This summer, Feuerbach and Luchtel, along with teammates Megan Chaney and Lauren Atkinson, will become the first alumnae of Northwest's women's golf program. Feuerbach graduated in April with a degree in horticulture. Luchtel is on track to graduate this summer with a degree in marketing.
Feuerbach's stroke average of 88.6 stands as the program's first career record. In 36 tournaments, she earned 20, top-10 finishes and placed as high as third five times. Her lowest round was 79 which she shot on four occasions.
Luchtel earned 10, top-10 finishes in 30 career events. She was the runner-up at the Ottawa Invitational this past fall when she finished 16-over-par for 36 holes - the fifth-best score in program history. She fired a 6-over-par 76 in the final round which stands as the third-best round in program history. Luchtel finished with a career stroke average of 92.2.
Feuerbach, Luchtel and Atkinson, who hails from Parkville, Mo., were a part of McLaughlin's first recruiting class - an announcement that came in the summer of 2007. Atkinson's first tournament appearance was delayed until the 2009-10 season where she competed in seven events including the MIAA Tournament. She shot a career-best 89 at the Bearcat Fall Classic back in October. She is completing a double major in business and marketing this summer.
Chaney, a native of Cameron, Mo., became a part of McLaughlin's second recruiting class when she signed a national letter of intent in the spring of 2008. She needed just three years to complete a degree in Elementary Education, which she received in April.
Chaney competed in 24 events in her three seasons and compiled a stroke average of 89.9. She briefly held the program record for the lowest round when she carded an 11-over-par 82 during her sophomore season. Her best finish in a tournament was fourth at last year's Green and Gold Shootout.
The loss of Northwest's first group of seniors will be filled by the largest signing class in program history. McLaughlin announced last week the names of seven high school graduates who will don the green and white this upcoming season. They will join junior-to-be Tess Edwards and sophomores Cassie Lowell and Kristina D'Angela as the new leaders of Northwest's golf program. They certainly have big shoes to fill.
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