June 15, 2007
This year’s Rehoboth Beach Invitational attracted one of its largest crowds of young competitors to the state’s major junior golf event, held June 11 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.
Assistant golf professional John Wallett said that 99 kids signed up for the popular outing, and only six were no-shows. The 93 player total is about two dozen more than in past years, and should be taken as a good sign of the sport’s health in the mid-Atlantic region.
Just before the shotgun start, head golf professional Ron Barrows and others involved with the DSGA Scholarship Fund awarded their annual golf scholarships to a new group of college-bound golfers.
Julia Robinson of Rehoboth Beach won the top prize of $4,000. A standout golfer and student at Worcester Prep, she will attend Brown University.
Three students were awarded $2,000 each. Bryan Lucente of Hockessin and St. Mark’s High School, will attend Coastal Carolina. Cape Henlopen High’s Samantha Purple is going to the University of Delaware, while Travis Parker recently signed to attend Goldey Beacom. Ayana Suber, a student at Friends in Wilmington, was awarded $1,000. She plans to go to Mount Holyoke College.
The scholarship program now has 24 students attending colleges throughout the country, at an annual cost of over $50,000.
With so many kids out on the golf course, the afternoon round stretched into the early evening, accompanied by a few threatening booms of a passing thunderstorm. Fortunately, the rain held off.
Dan Ott of Woodstown, New Jersey won the 16-18 Boys event with an even-par round of 72. He plays at Woodbury Country Club, and this fall will be playing golf for Campbell College in North Carolina.
Greg Matthias of Wilmington and Clayton Bunting of Georgetown tied for second place, one stroke back, and Matthias then won the playoff. He will be a senior returning to the powerful Salesianum squad next year.
Erica Pellegrini shot an 81, best among the girls playing the Open. She lives in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and is a sophomore at Garnet Valley High School.
Purple took second place with her 84. “It was fun playing with girls like me,” Purple said. “I was with Erica and Suzanne Donovan. I birdied the eleventh hole, and I think I had only one three-putt.”
Richard Atkins of Georgetown won the 14-15 Boys competition with a 76. He plays for Sussex Tech and is often found at The Rookery near Milton. Andrew Mlynarski finished in second place with a 77, after beating Sam Crowther in a playoff. Mlynarski, from St. Michaels, Maryland, is going into 9th grade, and plays at Harbortowne.
Kyle Plusch is about as tall as his driver, but the 11-year-old played a big game, winning the 11-13 Boys’ group with an 82. The Middletown golfer plays at Back Creek, and is going into the sixth grade. Shane Ghigliotty of Georgetown took second place with a 91. He’s going into the eighth grade at Eagle’s Nest School near Milton, and plays at Sussex Pines.
Barrows also hopes that Cape Region junior golfers will return to Rehoboth Beach CC for a special treat on Monday, June 25.
Masters and British Open Champion Mark O’Meara and PGA Tour star Peter Jacobsen, along with Mark Pfiel, a former PGA Tour Player, are coming to the course that day as part of a tribute to the late Bob McCurry. The former Toyota Motors executive vice-president lived in Rehoboth Beach and Rancho Mirage, California, and was a huge benefactor to junior golf, in both the Cape Region and the Golden State.
Junior golfers can watch the pros play a round of golf with a group of amateurs who are plunking down some serious cash for the privilege, all for the sake of the DSGA Scholarship Fund. The starting time is set for 8 a.m.
Any adults who accompany the juniors, as well as any others interested in supporting the Fund, have an additional opportunity to chip in. The club’s pro shop has a Birdie Pledge sheet. Every birdie made by the pros will add more dollars to the day’s total.
Sign-ups for the Birdie Pledge are accepted at any time the pro shop is open, up to the morning of the event.