PLEASANTVILLE — Junior Elijah Sperfslage missed two weeks with a hand injury. With one week to go until sectionals, PCM boys’ golf coach Dale Vander Linden needed a replacement for one of his players.
After dialing up Sperfslage to see if his hand injury was healed, the Mustang junior made the trek to Pleasantville Golf Course with the rest of the PCM team and his 81 was a counting score in the 2A sectional tournament.
The Mustangs came into the day as the favorite. They didn’t win by as much as they would have liked but advanced to the district tournament for the third straight year May 12.
“It feels great. I love it. Now if we can just get to state, that would be 100 percent better,” Vander Linden said. “We need to go down another five or six strokes in order to advance to state. They have the capabilities to do it though.”
Junior Jackson Thomas shot an 80 on the day to finish fourth overall. The other three counting scores were 81s, and the Mustangs won with a 323. PCM edged runner-up Albia by four strokes. Both teams advanced to the May 19 district meet at Lake Panorama National Golf Course.
Pella Christian, which had two individual golfers advance to districts, finished third with a 335. No other team was within 40 strokes of the top three.
“Everyone is shooting the same,” Vander Linden said. ‘That is how we have won most of our matches this year. We just stay close together and shoot right around an 80 all year.”
Eddyville-Blakesburg finished fourth with a 375, followed by Central Decatur (378), Pleasantville (386) and CMB (409). Interstate 35 did not have enough golfers for a team score.
Pella Christian’s Graham Howerzyl won medalist honors with a 73. Kenden Veenstra shot an 82 for the Eagles and advanced as the second-best finisher not on an advancing team.
Thomas had a 41 on the front nine and a 39 on the back. He finished with seven pars and birdied the par 3 No. 10.
“I didn’t start out too good, but I finished strong,” Thomas said. “We expected to win, and I think we have a decent chance to win at districts if we play well.”
Sperfslage and juniors Noah Lanphier and Dayton Boell all shot an 81 as the final counting scores.
Sperfslage was one of the overall leaders with a 38 after nine holes. He fell back with a 43 on the back nine but maintained his top-five form. He connected on eight pars and birdied the par 3 No. 3.
“My goal was to shoot the best I could do,” Sperfslage said. “This team is so balanced. Anyone can lead our team on any given night. It’s nice to not have to rely on the same few guys every time.”
Vander Linden said Sperfslage had only week of practice since returning from his injury.
“I called him up and asked him if he could play. He cut up his hand and couldn’t hang onto the golf club,” Vander Linden said. “He said he thought he could play. He showed us today that he can play because his scored counted.”
Lanphier carded a 40 on the front and a 41 on the back nine. He put in eight pars and he eagled the par 5 No. 10.
Boell carded a 39 on the front nine and finished with a 42 on the back nine. He had seven pars and birdied the par 5 No. 6.
Sophomore Reed Worth finished with seven pars and shot a non-counting 83. Senior Ryan Hill recorded eight pars and finished with a non-counting 88. Hill was hurt badly by three or four holes.
“We’ll have to play better next week, and I think we can,” Sperfslage said. “One of our best guys, Ryan, didn’t even play that great today and we still won. I am confident he’ll bounce back, and I think we all can play better. Our mindset has to be to shoot lower than we did here. Hopefully we’ll get it done.”
The fact that Hill, the team’s No. 2 golfer, didn’t play well shows how deep the Mustangs can be.
“Anyone of them six guys can be in the top four. Everyone has bad days. We have just been lucky enough all year that we have always had at least four good scores,” Vander Linden said. “When you get five strokes within three shots of each other, that’s a good thing. We just need to keep it going and try to get a little better next week.”
The district tournament tees off at 10 a.m. on May 19 in Panora.