March 28, 2003
The temperature on March 25 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club for the season-opening match for the Cape Henlopen High School golf team felt about 10-15 degrees colder than the rest of the Cape Region. The wind also gusted at about a club-and-a-half strength.
In other words, everything was normal.
Notwithstanding the difficult conditions, the Vikings’ new season began nicely, with a 164-167 victory over Caesar Rodney.
Senior Tyler Witman led all scorers with a 2-under-par 32 on the adjusted front nine at Rehoboth (The par-3 19th hole is in use, and the par-5 4th hole is closed). When I caught up to his group, Witman had just finished driving his tee shot on the par-4 7th hole to the front left fringe of the green. Witman took a few practice swings and then chipped his eagle try toward the cup. It clanged off the pin and stopped about 18 inches away for an easy birdie. It was one of three for the day, including a chip-in on the ninth and a 15-footer on the 6th hole.
Witman’s only bogey was on the difficult par-3 third hole, when his drive landed in the right greenside bunker and his 4-foot par putt slid by.
“The greens were really fast today,” Witman said. “I would tap a downhill putt and it’d go 4 to 5 feet past the hole.”
Brad Schneider followed in second for Cape with a 42 he described as “Bogey golf all the way, mostly.” The senior parred the fifth and ninth holes, and bogeyed the rest.
“I had a lot of trouble with my iron shots in all this wind,” Schneider said. For example, his pitching wedge shot on the 105-yard 19th hole shot up into the breeze and landed a few yards short of the green. His chip shot ran past the hole, and his par try then slid by on the fast green.
Sophomore John Purple contributed with his 44, but he wasn’t too happy about it. I saw him twist away in disgust as his pulled three-wood approach shot landed in the pond on the front left of the 8th green.
Of course, Purple could have been a bit distracted on that hole. Caesar Rodney senior Chris Valeski’s tee shot on the 8th hole landed on the second hole’s green, and dropped right into the cup. The errant slice caused a break in the action and several laughs.
“The first hole was fun, though. I chipped my third shot and it hit the pin and stopped dead, for a nice par,” Purple said.
The third senior on the team, Micah Vugrinec, completed the team scoring with his 45: “I missed one fairway the entire round, but I couldn’t make a putt the whole day.”
New transfer Brian Davidson felt pretty good about his first match for the Vikings. The sophomore, who attended Towson High School near Baltimore last year, shot a 46. His most memorable hole of the day was on the 19th: “I yanked my tee shot right into the water on the left, just like I didn’t want to. After the penalty stroke, I made a 5.”
Brett Hertel’s 49 was a source of irritation to him, which is understandable. Coach Jerry Dorneman noted that it was several strokes higher than Hertel’s practice rounds.
“I was horrible today. I started off with a big snowman (8) on the first hole, when I lost my ball on the drive. We saw it going to the left, but no one found it until after the hole was done, on the far right side of the hole. It must have hit a tree and bounced all the way across. Plus, I had 4 or 5 three-putts. I can’t go anywhere else but up from here.”
I’m sure he will.