CHS golfer signs to play at Evangel

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Neill signs to play golf at Evangel Derek Neill, a member of Cassville High School's Class of 2006, signed a letter of intent to play golf at Evangel University in Springfield last Wednesday. Pictured in the front row, are: Derek and his parents, Rick and Gayla Neill, of Cassville. In the back row, from left, are: Terry Jamieson, CHS athletic director; Steven Jenkins, Evangel golf coach; and Lance Parnell, CHS golf coach. Democrat Photo (b)

Two days after returning from his second trip to the state golf tournament, Cassville High School senior Derek Neill signed a national letter of intent to continue his game at the college level as a member of the Evangel College men's golf team.

Steven Jenkins, Evangel golf coach, travelled to Cassville to witness the signing, which took place last Wednesday. Neill's parents, Rick and Gayla Neill, of Cassville, and CHS golf coach Lance Parnell were also present for the signing ceremony.

"We're very pleased to have Derek join our program," said Jenkins. "Not only is Derek a great golfer, but a great young man as well.

"We think Evangel is a perfect fit for him," continued Jenkins. "I think he'll be a real plus for our golf team."

Neill has been a consistently valuable member of the CHS varsity golf squad for the past four years.

"It has been a pleasure for me to get to work with Derek the last four years," said Coach Parnell. "I am going to miss him. He has been a great leader for our younger kids."

As a four-year letterwinner, Neill has been in the top five on the team since the first tournament his freshmen year.

"Derek is Mr. Consistent," said Parnell. "I could always count on him to post a score around or below 80. With Derek's work ethic, I feel he will be an asset to Evangel's golf program."

At last week's state golf tournament, played at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club in Bolivar, Neill shot back-to-back 82s and finished 42nd. In 2005, Neill finished 65th at state.

This season, Neill helped lead the Wildcat golfers to a Big 8 Conference Championship. He has earned All-Big 8 Conference second team honors for the past two years.

Neill has been playing golf since he would walk.

"Any time I have free time, I try to get out on the course," said Neill, who is thrilled to have cemented his college choice.

"I'm excited, and relieved, to get this taken care of, to know where I'm going to college," said Neill. After looking at several colleges, including Southwest Baptist University and Missouri Southern State University, Neill chose Evangel.

"I want to thank my parents and the Lord my saviour for giving me the ability to play," said Neill.

Evangel College, located in Springfield, is a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Neill plans to major in business management and minor in Biblical studies.

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