June 16, 2000
Over 70 junior golfers from the Cape Region and beyond competed in the Rehoboth Junior Open on Monday, June 12.
Thundershowers interrupted the popular event at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, but failed to dampen the participants’ obvious enthusiasm.
The boys and girls competed in several age-based categories. The inclement weather prevented juniors in the 11-13 year old segment from completing their 18-hole event. Instead, the tournament officials compared the players’ scores in relation to par for the twelve holes that each competitor finished.
Using the adapted scoring format, Tommy Ellison of Bethany Beach won the 11-13 year old bracket with a 4-over par performance. Greg Leidy of Salisbury, Maryland took second with his 6-over par score.
Colleen Gove of Wilmington won the girls’ event with an 86. Gove, who just graduated from Brandywine High School, said, “This was the first time I’ve been able to compete in the Open. I usually had finals this week and couldn’t make it. I’m here in Dewey Beach for Senior Week and finally got to play.”
Nice to see a June bug that really knows how to enjoy her stay at the beach!
Gove was the number 2 player on the Brandywine golf team, and qualified for the individual championship in the State high school tournament on May 30-31 at Shawnee Country Club. She shot an 88 on the first day, however, and failed to make the cut.
Three Cape Henlopen High School junior varsity golfers followed Gove in the Open. Christina Wagamon took second place with a 93, while Shannon Prettyman came in third with a 99. Reinie Vugrinec finished with 108 and said, “I’m disappointed. I just didn’t play well.”
Kristian Gamgort of Hockessin had reason to be even more upset than Vugrinic. Gamgort, a student at St. Marks High School near Wilmington, described the Open as her “first ever real tournament.” Her 89 score did not count, however, because she placed a laminated card inside her glove as a playing aid during the round. The rules violation forced her disqualification.
“I’ve used the card before [to stabilize my wrist] while playing with my dad and brothers. I just didn’t know you couldn’t do that during the tournament,” Gamgort sighed.
Nearly thirty boys competed in the 14-15 year old bracket. John Pelet, of Atglen, Pennsylvania near Avondale, won with a 72. Tyler Witman of Rehoboth Beach took second with a 74.
Witman knew Pelet from their prior tournaments together in Pennsylvania, and told Pelet about the Open. After all, what are friends for?
Witman, who won the Open in his age group the last two years, said his approach shots were often too far from the holes to give him legitimate chances for birdies. The ten lip-outs he recalled putting were no help, either.
Zac Oakley of Lewes and Tyler Semmelman of Landenberg, Pennsylvania tied for low score in the 16-18 year old championship category, in which nearly 40 players competed. However, the top score and ties from the 16-18 year old category could be joined for the overall championship by any 14- or 15-year old that matched the low score. Pelet’s 72 qualified him for the eventual playoff, but only for the chance to win.
Oakley bogied the first playoff hole while the other two parred it. At the second hole, Pelet and Semmelman both put their approach shots about 25 feet from the hole. Pelet’s putt rolled up to tap-in range. Semmelman then calmly putted for a birdie and the win.
Because Pelet won the 14-15 year old category, Oakley took second place honors in the championship.
Semmelman plays at Newark Country Club. He will be a senior and the No. 1 golfer on his Kennett High School team this fall. This is Semmelman’s third time playing in the Open, where he won his age group category two years ago.