LONG GROVE — Pleasant Valley senior Jack Roemer was itching to compete with his team once again.
Making his prep season debut in Wednesday’s Lancer Invite at Glynns Creek, Roemer and three other Spartans finished in the top eight as PV tallied a 294 to top Johnston for the team title by nine strokes. Invite hosts North Scott placed third (321) at the 12-team event.
Johnston’s Jarred Bowser fired a two-under 70 to earn medalist honors, followed by Central DeWitt’s Dylan McAleer (71).
Roemer, who placed fifth after shooting a two-over 74, said it was tough sitting out the first two meets of the season after competing in an American Junior Golf Association event in Michigan.
He could only watch in support on Monday as Johnston edged PV by three strokes in the Trojan Invite in Iowa City.
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But the Spartans followed that up by dropping 20 strokes on Wednesday, led by a 72 from Jack Dumas, who finished tied for third after earning medalist in the season’s first two events.
PV’s Nathan Tillman (73) was fifth and Sam Johnson (75) tied for seventh with Assumption’s Evan Lystiuk as fifth scorer John Molyneaux (78) was 11th. Mitchell Wood, who was one of PV’s four golfers in last year’s fourth-place state finish, shot an 83 (T21).
“We knew we left a lot out there at the second meet in Iowa City, so it was definitely reassuring to put up a good score today and I’ll be pretty happy with that,” Roemer said. “We’re capable of a lot. I know we all left a few out there, but it’s hard to complain about a 294.”
Dumas had two birdies and two bogeys, with Roemer collecting a birdie and three bogeys in the debut. Tillman had three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on No. 17.
Pleasant Valley coach Mike Nedelcoff said his team played well and pretty consistently on Wednesday.
“(I) saw some good decision-making out there,” he said.
With his two top-5 finishers in the state from a year ago in Dumas and Roemer back together in the lineup, the early season low was a safe bet.
“You’re bringing back one of the five best players in the state of Iowa, your score is going down,” Nedelcoff said. “It’s that simple.”
The coach said his team is driven by a competitive mix of nine golfers.
“It’s very competitive on our squad, and I’m glad that when anyone is in the lineup, hopefully they can do the best they can do.”
Despite the 294, the Spartans know they can do better.
“Right as we came off the course today, we knew exactly what we’re going to work on tomorrow,” Roemer said. “Within 150 yards, we all struggled today. Especially some shorter putts, too. We’re motivated to get back out there as soon as possible and keep working for the big end goal.”
Roemer said it’s also a process getting reacclimated to the dynamics of team golf after practicing alone much of the year. It’s a matter of getting comfortable, trusting your teammates and having fun, but he’s ready.
“Definitely happy to be back in my spot, doing the best I can to help the team,” he said.
Central DeWitt placed sixth as a team with a 341 total, 16 behind Assumption and Western Dubuque, but McAleer’s 71 was a highlight despite a rough patch of four holes.
The senior had six total birdies and was 5-under before No. 5, where he had a slide of three bogeys and a double bogey down the stretch.
“Kind of sporadic throughout the day, but it was pretty solid overall,” he said. “I knew I was around the lead or had the lead, but I knew someone would produce a low (number) here. It was in great condition, it was a great day, and I knew someone would go two strokes under, and that’s what it was.”