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Champion Golfer (Luke Vermeer)

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Our Taco John's Athlete of the Week begins play at the NAIA Men's Golf Championships tomorrow in Quad Cities.  Luke Vermeer of Northwestern won the GPAC Tournament, but he says that win wasn't what he was hoping for.

When Luke Vermeer won his second GPAC title in three years, his reaction wasn't joyous or excitable.  Instead, the Northwestern senior lamented a missed opportunity.

"I would have rather been more successful as a team," said Vermeer.

Despite winning the four-round tournament by five strokes and punching his ticket to nationals, Vermeer explained that even in an individual sport like golf, having a team to play for makes each round more meaningful.

"If you're playing by yourself and you have a bad first 8 holes, it's very easy to give up," said Vermeer. "But when you're playing for a team, you just have to keep battling through it and try and make a good score for your teammates."

In 2008, Vermeer also won the GPAC and qualified for Nationals.  Since then he has been named GPAC Golfer of the Year twice and been an all-conference selection three times.  His coach said he knew right away that he had someone special on his team.

"Luke came in as a freshman and we played him in the three or four spot his first meet and he's played in the number one spot ever since that," said Mark Bloemendaal.

A Sioux Center native, Vermeer grew up on a golf course.  His dad worked as the course superintendent and his family lived next to it.

"I spent everyday until I could drive on the golf course practicing," said Vermeer.

It paid off at Northwestern.

"Bad days are not very bad and his good days are usually very good," said Bloemendaal.

"He doesn't have any real weaknesses and has worked real consistently over the years and that's the way he plays.  He's just real consistent and makes very few mistakes."

Vermeer now has just one collegiate tournament left.  The NAIA Nationals at the TPC Deere Run.  He will play his best and represent his team, even if they can't be there with him.
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