May 21, 2004
After a first-match loss to Caesar Rodney in March, the Cape Henlopen High School 2004 golf team ran off an incredible unbroken string of victories, leading to a North Division title and the right to play in the All-Conference Championship.
Head coach Corey Groll said, “My goal for this conference match was that they’d be happy with how they played. The kids came out with their own goal–to win.”
And win they did on May 19, beating South Division champion Milford High School 164-173 on the front nine at Baywood Greens in Long Neck.
Brett Hertel was the leading scorer for the Vikings with a self-described “quite solid” 39. “I played smart. When they were using driver, I used a three-wood. I was keeping right up with [medalist Andy] Geyer, until I had two bogeys on two holes he parred. The greens were slow, but the practice round we played the day before really helped. I’m real happy we won.”
Jason Hastings shot a 41 he said was “decent,” although it didn’t start out that way. “I was five over after the first five holes. Then I parred out. I made two long putts for par on the par 3s.”
John Purple also scored a 41. “I birdied the seventh hole, and doubled the second hole. That one was nasty.”
Brian Davidson completed the team score that day with a 43. “I did all right,” he said. “I screwed up on two holes, but I started out with pars on the first three holes.”
Groll summed up his feelings about his team’s accomplishment with a simple “I’m very, very pleased.”
He was especially happy with the fact that in order to reach the conference championship, the team first had to win their match against the Senators from Dover, a feat not often accomplished by any Cape team.
Nonetheless, this group of Vikings seemed to relish the challenge, and rose to it. On May 17 they beat Dover by three strokes, 164-167, on the back nine at Maple Dale Country Club, Dover’s home course.
Purple led his teammates with a two-over par 38. “It was a weird round. I was just hanging in there, trying to keep up with Matt Hall [Dover’s #1 player]. I did have some good shots, though, including a tap-in birdie on the 17th.”
Davidson shot a cool 40 to help his team. “It was okay, a lot of up and down holes. I had 4 pars and a birdie,” he said.
Hertel seemed relieved after his 41. “I had no greens [in regulation] today. I had five bogeys and four pars. I’m just happy we won, and that’s what matters.”
Stephens, who normally is the sixth player, shot a 45 to make the final contribution to the team total. “I was one over after the first three and then I lost it for a while,” he said. “I had a triple and a double that messed up my round.” He then finished with a mix of pars and bogeys.
This year’s results were truly a team effort.
All six golfers contributed at different times toward the Vikings’ outstanding 12-1 record. Hertel was the only one to score in all matches, usually near his 40.5 average. Purple was next, scoring in twelve of the contests and averaging 40.8 per round. Hastings’ scores counted in nine matches, averaging 44.2, while Lee’s 44.1 average helped his team in eight of the contests. Davidson had a little trouble at the beginning of the season, but finished strong in seven matches with a 42.7 average. Stephens’ average score of 45 was sixth best, but those scores counted during four critical matches, including the win at Dover.
The individual conference championship is next on the team’s schedule, an 18-hole round set for May 25 at Cripple Creek. The team will then prepare for the 36-hole state championship at Sussex Pines on June 1-2.