Composure spurs on Spartans

Bangasser leads Grundy Center to district meet

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD Grundy Center’s Jake Bangasser tees off on Hole 8 on Friday during the boys’ sectional meet at the Town & Country Golf Club. Bangasser was the medalist with an 81, and helped the Spartans advance to next week’s district meet.

GRUNDY CENTER — There are probably a handful of golfers on the PGA Tour who wish they had Jake Bangasser’s confidence and resolve.

That same golfer who shot 5-over par on his first three holes at the conference meet and turned it around to post a 77 used the same swagger Friday to shoot a 9-over-par 81 and win the Class 1A sectional meet at Town & Country Golf Club.

As medalist, Bangasser helped lead the Spartans to a first-place win with 345 strokes, besting AGWSR in second (369) and Gladbrook-Reinbeck in third (379). All three teams advanced to the district qualifying meet in Mason City on Friday.

“Other sports give you that [composure], but not quite like golf,” Bangasser said. “You can be a really good golfer, but if you don’t have the mental toughness, you’re not going to get anywhere. Golf is a sport where, no matter how much you practice, something’s always going to go wrong. And you’ve got to overcome that.”

Bangasser explained that especially with an 18-hole meet like the sectional played Friday, there are going to be big numbers hiding out on the course. It’s inevitable.

So, when he went out of bounds on Hole 2 and took a seven, and three-putted for another seven on his 14th hole, he didn’t allow those two awry holes dictate the rest of his game.

The junior golfer wasn’t able to find any birdies and made 11 pars on his way to his final round. But he said he didn’t expect to shoot a lights out round, as he admitted his home course was probably the toughest the Spartans had seen all year.

“It’s not one of those courses where, if you’re down a couple strokes, you can throw in some birdies consistently,” Bangasser said. “You’ve got to work to birdie on this course. It’s a bummer when you get down like that but it’s good it happened today, rather than when it means a lot more. It’s not what we hoped for but we got our ultimate goal of getting first and advancing.”

A year ago, the Spartans were the benefactors of being the third team in because Aplington-Parkersburg won on its home course, allowing three teams to advance to the district meet. On Friday, they allowed both AGWSR and G-R to come with them to Mason City by winning on their home course.

Grundy Center head coach Dennis Dirks said every course has it quirks and just by hitting the road to another course, that in itself can scramble the comfortability of golfers and make a difference in the end result.

“More than anything else, we [didn’t have to have] that preparation of travelling to another course,” Dirks said. “That was comforting knowing we didn’t have to go travel someplace and play another course. The guys didn’t play the way they might’ve wanted to play, but some of them found out that, hey, maybe if [they] have a tough front nine, [they] can come back and play well the second nine.”

The Rebels were the last team in and would’ve been the first team out had the Spartans not placed in the top two. G-R head coach Chad Bixby said his top four scorers had a relatively solid day, led by senior Joe Smoldt who took runner-up honors with an 82.

“We had our top two kids, Matt Roeding and Joe Smoldt, who I can usually count on to put a good score in there,” Bixby said. “And with our three and four, I usually shoot for 100 on an 18-hole course, and they did that. Tyson Creswell shot a 50 on the front and really helped us out. His short game has really come along, it’s his in between game we need to work on with him. But as a sophomore, it’s a game he likes and he’s going to work at.”

Roeding ended up coming through with an 88 and Matt Johannsen ended up right at 100 to be the Rebels’ third scorer. Creswell was just over that ideal 100-stroke mark with a 109.

For rest of the Spartans, Jesper Holke-Farnam battled an up and down day for a fourth-place 85. He found a rare birdie on Hole 2, but had three double bogeys on his back nine that upped his score. Nolan Freeman came through with an 89 for the Spartans’ third scorer and Matthew Sternhagen posted a 90.

AGWSR is just a year removed from the state tournament, and is hoping to get back to the American Legion Golf Course in Marshalltown in a few weeks. They were led by Alex Hames’ 88, followed with Tyler Rose shooting a 93 and Jay Janssen and Keon Huffman each shooting 94 on the afternoon.

GMG was fifth Friday, scoring a 403. The Wolverines were led by Aaron Fleming, who shot a 96 and missed qualifying as an at-large individual by one stroke. Conner Stonewall and Ryan Hunt each shot 102 and Kamrin Chizek had a 103 in the final round of the spring season.

North Tama shot a team score of 441 to take sixth. The Redhawks were led by Orion Hansen and Ryan Waller, each shooting a 107 Friday. Lance Zobel had a 110 and Jack Dostal posted 117.

Colo-NESCO came out with a 456, led by Tyler Anthony’s 100. Evan Dodd shot 109, Matt Lilly had a 123 and Jacob Clatt posted 124 to round out scoring for the Royals.

Next week’s district qualifier for the state meet could get a little interesting with an unorthodox situation.

Newman Catholic will be hosting the district meet at the Mason City Country Club, a private course that requires a membership to play. The Knights do not call the country club their home course, so they will not be counted as the home school, should they place first or second at that meet. That means only two will advance from the Mason City district, no matter what.

The logistics cause a bit of a shakeup in an already stout district. Before Friday’s rounds at sectional meets, Grundy Center ranked second in the Mason City district with an 18-hole average of their top four players at 331.33 strokes.

St. Ansgar was third at 339, AGWSR is fourth at 346 and Newman Catholic with 347 strokes.

Dirks said in his 30-plus years of coaching, he had never heard of a private course hosting a district meet.

Players will tee off at 10 a.m. on Friday.