After posting the second-best record in Mount Vernon Nazarene College golf history in 1998 and then losing four of the five starters off that team, head coach Mike OíHara knew that the 1999 season would be somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Cougars.
"It is hard to replace the caliber of seniors that we had on last yearís team," said OíHara. "Plus, we only had one returning player (junior Steve Hesson) with much varsity experience at the collegiate level. However, I feel that as the season progressed we matured and came together as a team."
With a roster full of underclassmen, the Cougars played in eight tournaments during the regular season with MVNCís best finish coming at the Shawnee State University Invitational when the team finished third. The Cougars wrapped up the season with a third-place finish at the highly-competitive American Mideast Conference Tournament as the team played some of its best rounds of the season.
Individually, sophomore Matt Durst led the team throughout the season as he was selected as the teamís Most Valuable Player. Over the course of the second half of the season, Durst was hampered somewhat by a hand injury that actually forced him to miss one tournament.
Freshman Sam McGraw continued to improve as the season progressed as he adjusted to golf at the collegiate level. In fact, McGraw finished year by firing a 54-hole total of 234 at the AMC Tournament to earn All-Conference honors.
Freshman Todd Mazur also showed marked improvement as the year went on. Mazur ended up playing in all but two of the teamís tournaments and was selected by his teammates as the 1999 Cougar Award recipient for his contributions to the team both on and off the golf course.
Seniors Greg Elmore, Chris Huff, and Jim Hess finished up their careers at MVNC, but the Cougars should be ready to take to the links again in 2000 with a year of experience under their belts.