Pelzel signs with USF
HERON LAKE -- Like many first-year college students across the country, Cory Pelzel soon will pack his belongings and move them to a dorm on campus. Unlike many of his peers, however, the first and most important thing Pelzel plans to pack is his...
HERON LAKE -- Like many first-year college students across the country, Cory Pelzel soon will pack his belongings and move them to a dorm on campus.
Unlike many of his peers, however, the first and most important thing Pelzel plans to pack is his golf bag.
"That's the first thing that's going into my car when I head out there," he said.
Golf always has been a top priority for Pelzel, who recently graduated from Southwest Star Concept High School and starred on the Quasars' golf team for the past four years. It will continue to be that way in the near future.
Pelzel recently signed a letter of intent to continue his competitive golfing career at the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.).
"It's kind of nerve-wracking; there's more competition and there are some better players out there," Pelzel said. "But I'm excited to get out there and start playing in some more meets."
It's difficult to believe that Pelzel actually could fit more golf into his schedule. He has worked at a golf course since he was 14, and he plays the course almost every day.
"If I work in the afternoon, I'll play in the morning; if I work in the morning, I'll play in the afternoon," he said. "I try to golf every day. I try to golf at least 18 (holes), sometimes 27. It's kind of my life."
Golf has been a part of Pelzel's life for a long time.
"My dad and I would come out to Lakefield and he would golf a whole round and then I'd just drop a ball on the green and putt," Pelzel said. "When I was 7, I started in a junior league and was in that until I was 12.
"I was a pretty big runner back then, too, when I was younger, so I had to make a decision between track and golf. And I just started improving my game and decided to go out for golf as a seventh-grader. I kind of worked my way up through B-squad, and in my freshman year, I was on varsity the entire year and just went on from there."
At USF, Pelzel will experience an entirely new kind of format. There still will be one official golf season, but it will be split into two parts. The first half of the season will be played in the fall, with competition resuming and finishing in the spring.
The unique collegiate format brings the possibility of a golfer being forced to mull over a bad first-half performance throughout the winter before getting another chance on the links. Pelzel's been there before. As a junior, at the Section 3A tournament in Marshall, he missed a birdie putt on the final hole and missed qualifying for the state meet by one stroke.
"I had to think about it the whole rest of the summer, the fall and the winter," he said. "And, finally, golf season came back around again. It still haunts me to this day."
Pelzel used the experience as extra motivation going into his senior season, and when he finally got another chance at the section meet, he shot a 76 and became the first SSC golfer ever to qualify for the state tournament.
"It just was so hard to think, 'Wow, I could have went to state and got my feet wet in my junior year and know what it's like going up there and then, in my senior year, really go after it,'" he said. "But state was great this year. It was a lot of fun."
Golf can be a cruel game, as Pelzel learned, but he still prefers the sport above all others.
"I'd say (golf) is my favorite, by far," said Pelzel, who also excelled in football and basketball at SSC. "All the pressure is on me. There isn't a team I need to rely on; it's just me out there."
Pelzel's attitude and goals likely won't change much at USF.
"My goal, first of all, is to have a lot of fun," he said. "Yeah, you have to take it seriously but, then again, you have to have fun and enjoy it. In my first year, I want to get used to it, get used to the college level and that kind of stuff. But as I work my way up, I'd like to make it to nationals someday."