May 9, 2003
For Tyler Witman, Cape Henlopen High’s leading golfer, playing a match against host Sussex Tech at the Ravens’ home course, The Rookery Golf Club near Milton, is not exactly an away game.
“I really like this course. I play it a lot during the summer,” Witman said recently.
Right about now Witman must really, really, really like The Rookery.
On May 6 he shot a startling 29 on the front nine from the white tees, for a new personal record and one of the lowest high school golf scores ever posted. “I’ve shot 30 a few times, but I never went below it until today,” he grinned.
His remarkable round started off with an eagle on the first hole: “I duck-hooked my drive, but I had about 105 yards to the pin. I used my lob wedge, and the ball rolled in.”
I watched Witman’s last putt, a straightforward 15-foot birdie-maker from below the par-3 ninth hole. He did a little fist pump, and then congratulated his playing partner and fellow senior, Brad Schneider, as he rolled in a 4-foot putt for a birdie of his own.
Here’s how Witman’s scorecard looked: 2-3-4-3-4-4-4-3-2 (29). Someone told him after the round that he forgot to add his putts to the total score, a comment that produced a wide smile on Witman’s usually serious face.
Witman’s performance seemed to have a drafting effect on his teammates. The Vikings combined for a total score of 143, one of the lowest team totals Cape ever put together in a regular match. It’s a good thing, too, because the kids from Sussex Tech also went low with their 157 total.
Brad Schneider shot a nice little one-over-par 36 for second place among the Viking players.
Sophomore Brian Davidson put a 38 on the board, his best round of the year. “I started on the ninth hole with a birdie. I used my gap wedge and I made a two-foot putt,” he explained. Davidson then doubled the first hole, but parred 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 to go with a couple bogeys.
Junior Brett Hertel completed the team scoring with his 40. “I started off with a par, and then ran off four straight bogies. I’ve been playing better in my matches than I have in practice, lately. Maybe I need the extra edge of competition,” he smiled.
Coach Jerry Dorneman said the team’s overall scoring has been pretty consistent in recent matches. “The scores have been similar, but it’s a different set of kids each time,” he said.
He has a point, as shown in the three matches the Vikings played on consecutive days last week as they returned from spring break.
On April 29, they beat Smyrna 162-206. Witman took medalist honors at Rehoboth Beach CC with his 37, followed by Schneider (40), Hertel (42), and sophomore John Purple (43).
The next day the team won over Laurel, 158-208. This time the scorers at the Viking home course were led by Witman, with a 2-under par 32, followed by three others tied at 42: Schneider, Hertel, and senior Micah Vugrinec.
On May 1, the Vikings played Sussex Central at Sussex Pines CC near Georgetown, and won 163-207. Purple took medalist position with his 2-over-par 38, his season best. “I played well, and putted good,” Purple said. “I had three bogeys and one birdie.”
Schneider scored next with a 40, with Hertel’s 41 and Witman’s 44 making up the rest of the total.
Witman admitted to being a little wild on at least one drive that day: “On the eighth hole I pushed my drive and it hit a house. It broke a window pane.”
The team next plays Polytech, before finishing the regular season with a match against St. Thomas More. The conference tournament is May 22, with the two-day state tournament scheduled to begin May 27 at Wilmington Country Club.