Herald staff report

LIVERMORE — The Prince of Peace golf team placed fourth Friday in the opening round of the Iowa Class 1A golf tournament at Spring Valley Golf Course, putting itself in position to make school history in today's final round.

The Irish never finished higher than eighth in their two previous state tournament appearances.

"We have a chance to do something that no other team at the school ever has," Irish coach Chris Vens said. "We have a special opportunity, and we're mentally prepared to go take a whack at the golf course."

Prince of Peace shot a combined 337, which finished eight strokes behind third-place Grundy Center and 10 behind second-place Treynor.

Mason City Newman was the first-round leader with a 310.

The balanced scoring that fueled the Irish this season reappeared on Friday's scorecards.

John Nelson and Eric Sikkema each fired a 10-over-par 82. Drew Sikkema shot an 86, Joe Vens turned in an 87, James Nelson shot an 89 and Mark Roling fired a 96.

"I'm in a great situation as a coach," Chris Vens said. "If the six kids threw balls in the air, and I had to go with the four balls that landed closest together, I would feel confident no matter how they fell. It takes away a lot of anxiety."

Eric Sikkema recorded the shot of the day, according to Vens, on the par-3 No. 17, his second hole. The sophomore knocked a 165-yard tee shot within an inch of the hole.

"That was very exciting," Chris Vens said. "That got him off to a good start."

While the Irish enjoyed their fourth-place standing, it didn't satisfy them. They surveyed the 10 strokes separating them from second place and don't feel it's an alarming deficit to erase.

"Everybody felt we left a lot of strokes on the golf course," Chris Vens said. "But we still had a good day, a vast improvement on anything we've ever done."

Prince of Peace also reached the state tournament in 1980 and 2008. Each time they finished eighth out of nine teams.

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