April 5, 2013
There’s something to be said for sporting enthusiasm, especially when it’s combined with a hint or two of sporting skill.
The way that the Cape Henlopen High School varsity golf team began its 2013 season could be a sign that the Vikings possess both attributes.
On March 27, the team hosted their first match of the year, postponed from the spring snow squall that blanketed the state March 25. They beat the Eagles of Smyrna High School 199-229.
Sophomore Luke Branner, who played a single varsity match last season, earned his first medalist honors in the Smyrna match with his 46. “I parred the seventh hole, and had mostly bogeys and a couple doubles,” Branner said. “I pretty much two-putted every hole. That was the best part of my day.”
Fellow sophomore Mike DeStasio shot a 47 for the day, second best among the Vikings. “I parred 6 and 7, and triple-bogeyed the ninth. One of my shots landed up against a tree. I tried to hit it from there, and the ball rolled up the tree and bounced away.” DeStasio grinned as he told the tale, showing a mature reaction to his day.
DeStasio and other players also mentioned that the teams played through a short rain shower for a few holes. Mason Jones was the third sophomore to post a qualifying score for Cape, with his 48, featuring a par on the eighth hole.
Senior Michael Johnson blew up his first two holes, with an 8 on the first and a 9 on the second. He calmed down after those disasters, with a few pars leading to a 52 total. “I two-putted most of the holes,” he said. “Hopefully my scores will get lower than that.”
Darren Branner, Luke’s twin, played his first-ever varsity match, and just missed having his 53 count toward the total. “I mostly bogeyed, and was pretty consistent. I had trouble with my approaches,” he said.
Quincy Duckworth made a golfing mistake many older golfers will recognize. The day before the match, he picked up a new set of TaylorMade irons, and tried to use them in his first competition right away. He expects the resulting 60 will be an anomaly, once he becomes used to his new clubs.
Head golf coach Claudio Smarrelli was pleased with his team’s first match effort. “I’m proud of them. They’re an energetic and happy bunch,” he said.
On March 28 the team traveled to Sussex Pines Country Club in Georgetown for their second 2013 match, against Sussex Central. The Vikings improved their team score by two points, winning this time 197-224.
Smarrelli said the conditions were less than ideal. He said it was cold and damp, and the recently aerated greens on the front nine made it “difficult to putt straight, and all the putts went airborne.”
Jones won the medalist honors for the day with his 46, while DeStasio matched his 47 from the day before. Duckworth appeared to be a quick learner with his new clubs, taking 10 strokes off on the way to his 50, good for third-best among the Vikings.
Sophomore Maddie Baptiste played her first varsity match of the year, and tied her Sussex Central playing competitor Emily Collins with a pair of 54s. Baptiste’s score finished the Viking’s team total for the day.
Luke Branner had one of those “golf is not a fair game” moments. A bad lie in a bunker on the ninth hole led to his posting an 11 on the hole. That one blowup boosted his total to a 58.
Smarrelli said, “I am certain this experience will remain in his head for many years to come.”
The Vikings were on spring break after Easter, and are scheduled to return to action April 8 at Rehoboth Beach CC, against the Buccaneers of Milford High School.