April 18, 2003
J.J. Oakley seems to enjoy a bit of home cooking.
The former Cape Henlopen High School Viking put together two of his best rounds of the 2002-2003 season for his current team from the University of Delaware, in the Second Annual George Washington University Invitational at Kings Creek Country Club on April 14.
In his first round, Oakley matched his season-best with a 75. In the second round that afternoon, Oakley completed scoring with a 76, for a combined 151 and a sixth place finish overall in the 15-school event.
Villanova’s Henry Watson took medalist honors with an even par 144 score, accomplished with a 75 morning round and a 69 in the afternoon.
Oakley finished first among his teammates. The Blue Hens finished in ninth place, 31 shots behind the winning team from the United States Naval Academy. The host squad from GWU came in second, only seven strokes behind Navy.
The other competing schools were Columbia, Villanova, Drexel, Iona, Long Island-Brooklyn, Bucknell, Monmouth, Niagara, Colgate, Mount St. Mary’s, Hofstra, and St. Peter’s.
I caught up to Oakley as he played the 390-yard par 4 first hole. He has not only grown several inches in height since his 2001 graduation from Cape; he’s also added some distance to his tee shots.
His drive on that hole finished in the center of the fairway about 135 yards out from the right-side pin location. There was a longish wait for the threesome ahead, so we chatted a bit.
“I had a good first round, with an up-and-down for a birdie on 16 and a nice birdie on 18. That one was from about 7 feet. The course is playing good today.”
When asked about his improved distance off the tee, Oakley had a simple explanation: “It’s my dad [Rookery Director of Golf Pete Oakley]. He taught me how to increase the torque in my hips and get more leg action into the swing.”
Oakley played his way onto the UD team last fall, and admitted that he hadn’t been exactly tearing up the team records thus far. “I hadn’t gone any lower than 80 this spring yet. I was looking forward to playing better here, what with playing this course so many times.”
The green then opened up, and Oakley hit a very straight short iron to about 12 feet left of the hole. His first putt finished about 6 inches short, and he converted the routine par. Oakley then joined his threesome for the cart ride to the second hole, courtesy of one of the many volunteer drivers who help this new tournament be so successful.
GW golf coach Scott Allen was pleased at how the event turned out. “It’s a beautiful day, the course is in great shape, and the volunteers are a big help.”
It helps, of course, that Allen’s parents Ron and Sue, are among the Kings Creek residents who come out to assist Head Pro Ty Mayers and General Manager Mike O’Shea.
Coach Allen is looking forward to the fall edition of the event, tentatively scheduled for either September 28 or October 6.
Cape continues to improve with two more conference wins
Several members of the Cape Henlopen golf team continued to improve on their early season scoring, with pleasant results.
On April 14 the Vikings beat the host team from Seaford High School 149-175.
Tyler Witman won individual honors with a four-under par 32. “I birdied the two par 5s, and birdied two par 3s,” Witman grinned. “The greens were rolling pretty nice there.”
Brett Hertel shot a nice 37, while John Purple contributed with a 39. Micah Vugrinec completed the team’s low scoring with his 41.
On April 15, the Vikings hosted the Buccaneers of Milford High School and beat one of their usually good rivals, 161-174. Witman tied for medalist honors with a 38. Hertel continued his improved scoring with a 39, while Vugrinec and Purple tied each other with a pair of 42s.