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Jackson golfer Jacie Pattengill inks with Drury

Jackson senior Jacie Pattengill officially signed her national letter of intent with Drury to continue her golf career last Thursday. Pictured front row from left to right: Asher Pattengill, Jacob Pattengill (father), Jacie Pattengill and Regina Pattengill (mother). Back row: Jackson assistant coach Drew Moore, Jim Brady, Ladonna Ruebel, Lee Ruebel, Tina Pattengill, Lee Pattengill and Channing Pattengill. Photo by Nick McNeal

Months after a senior season where Jacie Pattengill helped lead the Jackson girls golf program to a second-ever, third-place state finish, she officially signed with Drury to continue her career on the course last week.

Pattengill and the Indians accomplished the program’s first-ever top-four finish at state during her sophomore year, where Jackson took third overall.

Jacie was one of the varsity team’s top-five golfers along with fellow seniors Kaydi Rhodes and Ella Overstreet, and they have already signed with Tennessee Tech and Southern Illinois. Also on the team was Ella’s older sister and then senior Taryn Overstreet, who is currently in her second year of playing golf at Drury.

“When Taryn signed with Drury when I was a sophomore, I had never heard of the school and knew nothing about it,” Pattengill said. “I really wasn’t planning on going there, but the coach reached out to me and Taryn gave her an insight of me. She really helped me out there.

“When I went on my tour, I loved the coach, and I loved the university. Everybody was so nice, and I was like, ‘I didn’t even plan on playing here, but I think I’m going to go play at Drury.’ I never thought I’d play with Taryn again, and I really looked up to her growing up.”

In her final state tournament, Pattengill helped Jackson produce a team score of 646 as she placed 29th overall with an individual score of 171. Jacie also helped the Indians with a third-straight district championship by taking 11th place in the district tournament this fall.

Pattengill moving on to play golf at the next level wouldn’t come to a surprise for anyone that knows her since she’s played the sport basically her entire life. Her backyard also happens to be a golf course as she lives right by the Cape Jaycee Municipal Golf Course.

“Signing with Drury is everything to me — I have played golf ever since I was really little,” Pattengill said. “Playing at the collegiate level has always been really important to me. … I have been playing since I was three or four, and I have this picture of me with a little tiny pink club.”

Pattengill grew up playing golf with her father and grandfather, who she described as “scratch golfers.” Jacie said there were certainly never a dull moment while playing with them.

“It was really my grandpa who motivated me to golf the most because my dad is a big baseball guy,” Jacie said. “I started off playing softball growing up, but I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t know.’ Then I really got into golf, and my grandpa was the one always taking me to tournaments and stuff. The car rides with him back and forth — my grandpa made it a really fun experience for me growing up.”

Pattengill started golfing competitively when she was 12-years-old and played in local tournaments at Bent Creek, Cape Country Club and Kimbeland. She said this was the perfect start since as she made friends in these tournaments like Rhodes.

“Some of my best friends now are from high school golf — I grew up with all of these kids playing golf,” Pattengill said. “It’s crazy to think about all the people you meet and who influences you. … Kaydi and I have known each other ever since we were super little because her dad plays golf.”

Before golfers like Rhodes and Pattengill made history as Indians, Jackson actually didn’t have a girls golf program. Jacie was going to transfer to Notre Dame until Jackson started a team.

Even though golf isn’t a physically demanding sport like basketball or soccer, Jacie said the mental aspect of the game makes it one of the more difficult sports. One example Pattengill gives is if her or one of her teammates are having a bad round, it’s not because they are hitting bad but because they had a bad mindset.

“It’s definitely tough on the mind, but I think it makes you a better person as a whole,” Jacie said. “I’ve always struggled with that — that has been what’s killed my game the most. I’ve found out over the years what has really helped me is to focus on what I’m doing and what’s important. I’m someone who looks at the bad, but I’m like, ‘I just have to focus on what I’m doing right now, and nothing else matters.’”

What Pattengill has improved on the most at over the course of her high school career would have to be her swing, which she described as wonky during her freshman year. Jacie’s swing is no longer like that, of course, and said that it’s much more consistent.

As far as strengths go, Pattengill has always been satisfied with her putting. “If I don’t practice for a couple of weeks, something is wrong with my swing. But then I get up and I putt, and it’s like I never even put it down,” she explained.

While at Drury, Jacie will be studying to become a physician assistant. She said Drury is supposed to be a very good PA school.

“My dad is a physical therapist, and my mom is a speech pathologist,” she said. “I wanted to be a doctor for a really long time, but I thought, ‘Too much school.’ Becoming a PA takes six years, and I’ll get the hours that I want.

“I think mostly what it came down to is that I care about people, and I want to do that for the rest of my life.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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