June 2, 2006
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team finished its 2006 season in fifteenth place in the two-day state championship, held May 30-31 at Back Creek Golf Club in Middletown.
The Vikings were only one stroke behind Wilmington’s St. Elizabeth’s High School (722-721), but they finished a full 102 strokes higher than Salesianum, the number one team (619).
Private and parochial schools dominated the upper ranks of the players as well as the sixteen teams who qualified for the 36-hole medal play tournament.
Eric Onesi of St. Mark’s High School, near Newark, took medalist honors with a one-under par 141 (72-69). Colin Smith of Salesianum finished in second place, two strokes behind (69-74-143).
The St. Mark’s team earned second place with a 641, followed by Tatnall (657). Charter of Wilmington tied for fourth with Red Lion Christian Academy at 672.
Dover High’s Senators finished in sixth place, best among all downstate schools, with what their coach called a “disappointing” 680. Caesar Rodney tied for ninth with Newark at 699. Indian River tied for eleventh with Archmere Academy, and Sussex Tech came in alone at 13th with a 712.
Viking head coach Claudio Smarelli said the weather during the first day’s round was “awful hot,” and it clearly affected many of the young golfers.
Six players from each team played the first 18 holes. The four best scorers from each team finished the tournament on the second day. Twenty-four players from non-qualifying teams also played the first day. Only two golfers in that group played the second round; none of the others finished within ten strokes of even par (71).
Junior Samantha Purple shot the best round of the Vikings on the first day, with a steady 83. She followed that up with an 87 in the second round, marred only by a 10 on the fifth hole.
Purple’s 170 tied senior Jason Hastings for best on her team. It also put her in rare company among the several girls who competed in the championship. In the not really official girls’ category, she finished second to Sanford Prep’s Katy Heskett (160).
“My first round was really steady,” Purple said. “The highest score I had all day was a 6, and I didn’t have any birdies. I started off really good today. I had a par, then a bogey, then a birdie, then another bogey, and then I had the ten.”
Her good first-day score made Purple the last Viking to play on the second. Parker and Hastings joined her brother John, her parents, and other Cape fans to cheer her on for the last few holes.
Purple seemed to enjoy the added company. She hit a nice drive on the 301-yard par-4 18th hole to the left edge of the fairway, 110 yards from the middle of the green. After a long, fruitless search for a playing competitor’s drive in a low-lying ditch that wasn’t red-staked but should have been, Purple hit a nice wedge to 25 feet below the hole. Her first putt ran up the slope and past the hole by at least 5 feet. Her par putt missed by about a foot, and her bogey finish drew applause from the greenside crowd.
Smarelli said, “I have nothing but high hopes for her. She’s a real competitor, and I think she’ll work hard to play even better next year.”
Jason Hastings shot an uncharacteristic 90 on the first day, but recovered with a fine 80 on the second round, including a one-over par 36 on the front nine.
Travis Parker admitted that his real trouble in playing golf is in his head. His 90-98-188 finish clearly disappointed him. “It was rough. I need to learn some anger management. I can’t let go after a bad hole.”
Alex Hatter finished his high school golf career on a bit of a down note, with a 96-98-194 total.
Purple and Parker return to the Vikings next year, along with Tristan Karsnitz, Eric Sadowski, Daniel Scrutchfield, and Bradley Ha.
If the team qualifies, they’ll play in next year’s state championship at the new Bayside Course, near Fenwick Island.