June 4, 2004
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team finished its 2004 season in fine form, with a fifth-place team finish in the state championship held June 1-2 at Sussex Pines Country Club near Georgetown.
Junior John Purple led his fellow Vikings with a 74-74 two-day score of 148, good for third place individual honors based on a match of cards.
Jason Hastings and Brett Hertel tied for next best among the Viking squad. Hastings shot an 83 the first day and an 84 on the second day. Hertel shot the same scores, but in reverse order.
Andrew Lee completed the team scoring with a 91 in the first round and a 93 in his second and final round as a high school golfer.
Purple had a nice perspective on his accomplishment. “Tied for third is good,” he grinned. “I was just glad I didn’t have a double-bogey in either round, or in the conference tournament last week. I was playing really steady. My putting was good. I was just reading them and they would go where I wanted,” he said.
Several players could be heard beefing about the slow greens at Sussex Pines, but Purple refused to join in the criticism. “Everybody had to play them. What I liked about the greens was that you could fly the ball to the hole and stop ‘em.”
Hertel is a senior who this fall will be taking advantage of a nice five-figure scholarship to Seton Hall University for his academic achievements. “It certainly wasn’t for my golf,” he said with a smile. He played his usually steady golf, by “scraping it around”. In the second round, Hertel shot a 40 on the front nine, with 4 bogeys and 5 pars. “On the back nine I opened up with 2 pars, but then I couldn’t hit the ball straight. I don’t know why. I did get up and down for par on the 18th hole to go one stroke better than the day before, so that was a little bit of consolation.”
Hastings was pleased but a little critical about his play in his first state championship. “I couldn’t make any putts today. I made one from 30 feet for a birdie on the seventh hole, but other than that I made nothing from inside 10 feet. I could’ve shot in the high 70s if a couple putts fell.”
Lee was a bit crestfallen about his play on the second day. “I was playing a bogey kind of round, kind of like the day before, but then I had a double-double-double finish.”
In one respect, Lee’s disappointment didn’t equate to any significant alteration in the team’s chances. Cape was in fifth place overall after the first round, behind eventual winner Tatnall, A.I. DuPont, Salesianum, and St. Marks. The Vikings’ steady play, with each player’s second round within two strokes of the first day’s totals, wasn’t matched by several schools, many of whose players were far more erratic.
The Vikings’ final 667 total was 14 strokes better than the 6th place team, Charter-Wilmington, and 21 strokes better than the next best downstate team from Milford. The one bright spot for the Buccaneers was the first-place championship won by Andrew Geyer, with a 3-under par 141.
Head Coach Corey Groll noted that Cape was not only the best team among the downstate competition, but also said that the squad’s fifth place finish in the state championship showed that its Henlopen North Division and Conference titles were no flukes. “This season highly exceeded my expectations,” he said.
Head golf professional Tim Mumford said the rainy weather in the days preceding the tournament made things a little dicey, but he said the club’s maintenance crew worked hard, helped by the membership. “I was real proud of our members for the way they chipped in to help prepare the course. We were here really early [the first morning], cutting everything, and several members helped out a lot.”