May 11, 2007
You learn more from losing than from winning.
The really close defeats are more memorable than the blowout victories.
There are only so many ways to put a nice spin on a loss. Nonetheless, the one-stroke defeat by Sussex Tech on May 8 at The Rookery, 163-164, clearly stung the Cape Henlopen High School Viking golf squad. They had been enjoying a long string of wins against their Henlopen Conference competition this season.
Viking co-captains Travis Parker and Samantha Purple shared co-medallist honors with their four-over 39s on the front nine. That was a first for the two seniors.
Clayton Bunting, the number one player for Tech, blew up one hole with a 10, but still managed to ring up a 43.
Parker had his own troubles, but not on the same scale, such as on the par-3 second hole. “I four-putted it for double-bogey. It was like the hole just wasn’t there for me,” Parker said.
Purple commented on the firm ground and turf conditions and their effect on her game. “On the par-5 [sixth hole], I drove the ball toward the right, and it kept running. It ended up at the 150-yard marker. I figure with cutting the corner it was probably a 250 yarder.”
She also recovered well from a completely duffed tee shot on the fourth hole. “I hit the pitching wedge because I wanted to make sure it didn’t roll into the pond. It only went about 20 yards. Then I had about 220 yards to clear the pond and make the green. So I hit my three-wood and it ended up on the fringe of the green. I chipped up and made the one-putt for par. My family was stunned,” Purple said.
Dino Nardo shot a 41, which bothered him because it involved three double-bogeys in a row, on holes 3, 4, and 5. “On 4, I hit pitching wedge to lay up, but it kept running and went into the water. Then I hit my 52[-degree] wedge onto the green, but I three-putted it.”
Nardo birdied the eighth hole, but then bogeyed the ninth hole. “I played horrible,” he said glumly.
Tristan Karsnitz shot a 44. “I parred [number] 4 after hitting my tee shot into the water. I then hit my pitching wedge to five feet and made the putt. But I also doubled the seventh hole after the tee shot went into the water. Then on the ninth hole, I made bogey. I hit the putt well and it just lipped out. I knew the bogey probably cost us the match.”
His hot-tempered reaction to that bogey didn’t help. “It was really stupid,” Karsnitz said simply. He said he will serve out a game suspension or two for acting out.
The previous May 4 contest at Sussex Pines Country Club against Sussex Central had gone far better for the Vikings.
Parker shot an even-par 36 on the front nine for medallist honors. “I had seven pars, a birdie, and a bogey,” said Parker. “The birdie putt was from about 30 feet.”
Purple said, “It was fun to watch.”
Nardo took second among the Vikings with his four-over par 40, a good score considering that this was his first time playing the course.
Purple shot what she considered an “awful” 41. “I started off well and then started making nothing but bogeys. It wasn’t fun,” she said.
Karsnitz completed the team scoring with a six-over par 42. “I had six pars, a triple, a double, and a bogey,” he said.
Head golf coach Claudio Smarrelli noted his team’s disappointment, but saw a bright spot nonetheless. “I give them a lot of credit. Several of these players have really improved their scores since they first started playing for the team. I think we’ve had a really good year.”
The last two matches are against Kent County’s Polytech High and then southern New Castle County’s Hodgson High.
Eight members of the team will also participate in the Sussex Family YMCA tournament on May 14, thanks to the generous contributions of the Y and J.P. Morgan.