What a difference three years makes for Rensselaer’s Courtney Feagans.
The talented senior had an inauspicious beginning to her career as a freshman.
“My first round of 18 was a 166 -- 86 on the front and 80 on the back at Curtis Creek at the Rensselaer Invite,” Feagans said. “To me it wasn’t any big deal. I knew I wasn’t very good. I only had seven clubs, and I had a junior driver.
“I was 50 yards short with my driver on the par 3s.”
Undaunted, Feagans, a coach’s daughter, set out to conquer the game.
“I devoted my entire summers to golf,” she said. “My dad really helped me. He’s my swing coach and I would go out and practice every day. I had tournaments two or three days every week.”
All the practice paid off as Feagans averaged a 106 as a sophomore and steadily improved to where she was consistently shooting in the 90s as a junior.
The Bombers qualified for the regional as a team last year, and she carried that experience into this season.
Feagans fired an 80 at Tippecanoe Country Club in the Twin Lakes Sectional last Friday and qualified for this Saturday’s Lafayette Jeff Regional as an individual.
It was the second lowest score of the day.
“Courtney was so awesome at sectional,” Rensselaer coach Stephanie Davisson said. “We’re all excited for her.”
Davisson said the strongest part of Feagans’ game is her mental approach.
“Courtney’s mental toughness is locked in right now,” Davisson said. “She’s a real humble kid. She’s got a strong work ethic.”
Those qualities can be attributed, in part, to her dad, Mike Feagans, former boys basketball coach for the Bombers.
“He’s talked a lot about determination,” Courtney said. “After every match, he asks me if I want the coach’s view or the dad’s view. Most of the time it was both.”
Mike also coached the middle school golf team and teaches lessons at Hazelden County Club in Brook.
“He’s really helped me perfect my swing,” said Courtney, whose 9-hole average is a 43. “I always go to him if I have a problem.
“I’ve had some professional swing coaches. They’ve help me with some things, but most of it is my dad.”
Now Feagans, who’s looking at some NAIA Christian schools to continue her career, will focus on playing her best at the regional with a shot at qualifying for state.
“It’s very surreal,” she said. “I just can’t believe I got second individual at sectional. It’s hard for me to grasp. It was a lot of hard work.”