April 26, 2002
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team is bouncing back from the sting of their recent defeat by the talented Buccaneers of Milford High. Their practice regimen certainly helps.
On Thursday, April 18, the Vikings returned to the comforting surroundings of their home course at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, beating the Smyrna squad 158-197. Coach Jerry Dorneman said, “The rough was up a bit, and most of the Smyrna team is struggling this year. It was a slow round.”
Tyler Witman took medalist honors with a one-under 35. “I birdied the [par 5] 4th hole with a nice approach with my 9-iron, and birdied the 8th with a 30 foot putt. I bogeyed 9.”
Christina Wagamon shot a 39, her best competitive round ever. “That was fun,” she exclaimed. “I bogeyed the last three holes, though, because I was getting nervous.”
Brad Schneider graded his 41 as “pretty decent. I messed up badly on one hole, though, when I tripled the 6th. I drove it into the water off the tee, and then duffed another shot on the same hole.”
Shannon Prettyman completed the team scoring with her 43. “I hit a lot of the fairways when we played Smyrna, which is a really good thing, because the rough was really deep. I doubled the last hole in my round, though.”
On Tuesday, April 23, the team traveled to Wild Quail Golf & Country Club near Wyoming, and easily handled the Riders of Caesar Rodney, 163-180. Dorneman said that one of the better players for the central Delaware squad is “off the team for academic reasons, and they’re not a deep team this year.”
Witman led all players again with a nice little 2-under par 34, including a rare eagle on the par-4 7th hole. “It’s a dogleg left, and I hit a 2-iron to about 15 yards from the green. Then I chipped the next shot in,” Witman smiled. “I also birdied the first hole, but bogeyed the second.”
Brad Schneider’s 42 took second place among the Vikings. “I hit some good shots. It was real windy, though, and my putting was off. I had a couple 3 putts, and when I didn’t get on the green in regulation, I had trouble making one-putts for par.”
Wagamon shot a 43. “I was pretty happy with how I played, but not as happy as I was with the 39. I hit into some trouble spots and had a couple doubles.”
Prettyman felt good about her 44. “I felt like I got my game back. I had one really long putt just lip out. I think I had 2 pars, a double bogey, and the rest bogeys.”
I visited the team during a practice session this week. Cape Region golfers could do their own games a lot of good by following some of their practice routines.
The team often starts with a putting drill. Before leaving the practice green, the players must sink 10 consecutive 3-foot putts, 7 consecutive putts from 6 feet, and 5 straight from 9 feet.
Chipping practice comes next. From the rough just past the fringe, they must make three chip-ins before they can go to the range.
Dorneman also has the Vikings do a two-putt drill. Starting from the fringe just off the practice green, each player must make the first hole in two putts. From that hole they putt to the next, again taking no more than two putts to sink it, and so on until they finish all 9 holes on the green. If they don’t finish a hole in two putts, they must start all over again.
“When it’s laid out with a 40-footer in the mix, they almost always have to start over at least twice,” Dorneman grinned.
On the range and just off it, the team also works on trouble shots, trying to recreate situations they face in competition.
Dorneman highly recommends the Viking practice regimen. “It emphasizes the short game, where more than half the strokes are, and it’s a great way to improve your overall performance.”