April 4, 2014
The thermometer shot up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and the only snow piles to be seen anywhere were a few stray bits in large parking lots. In other words, April 1 was a perfect day for the start of the 2014 high school golf season.
The Cape Henlopen High School Viking golf team traveled to the Rookery North golf course in Milford, and picked up its first two wins in its opening match against Lake Forest High and Laurel High.
Cape’s combined score was 194, 27 strokes ahead of Lake Forest. Laurel could only field two players, and earned a forfeit score of 300.
In his after-match remarks, Cape golf coach Claudio Smarrelli said, “194 is not going to get it done from this point forward. But you’ve only had about four days of practice, and just haven’t played much. You’ll get better.”
Rookery North’s head golf pro Kyle Deas called the match “Throwback Tuesday.” That’s because the teams competed on the original nine hole golf course that made up Shawnee Country Club, from its opening in 1958 until the former club built the additional nine holes in the mid-1980s.
“The new greens on the west side are newer and drain better, and we decided to start this spring’s aerification on them,” Deas explained. “So the kids played all the holes on [the east] side. They played numbers 1, 8, and 9, then 10, 11, 12, and finished with 16, 17, and 18.” The combination added up to a par-35 layout, with three par 3s and two par 5s. The scorecards used for the matches were carefully marked to reduce the chance for confusion among the players, and that effort was mostly successful.
Not completely. Rachel Hagen scored a 54 in her first match, and admitted that she misread the scorecard as she prepared to tee off on the 16th hole. “I thought the yardage was only 107 yards, so I hit pitching wedge.” And when she did, she killed it, landing just off the green on the actually-141 yard par 3.
Hagen eventually bogeyed that hole, and was not too upset with how she played overall. “I think we did better than we expected, after the trouble we had with the first few holes.”
Darren Branner took official medalist honors for the day with his 45. “I think we did okay for only having a week and a half for practice. I had two sevens and then I birdied the first hole. The greens were good and we were getting a true roll with the putts.” His brother Luke, playing for practice as an alternate, shot a 41 for unofficial medalist honors.
Mason Jones posted a 46, second place for the Vikings, and said, “We can only improve from here. I was pretty erratic. I had two sevens, four pars, and the rest were bogies.” Maddie Baptiste, who posted a 50 for third best among the Vikings, said, “I think we relaxed a bit after the beginning.”
Baptiste also said she had some good luck hitting both over and through the still-bare trees, when her tee shots strayed from the fairways. Mike DiStasio and Quincy Duckworth scored a pair of 53s, either one of which made up the fourth and final score for the team.
DiStasio said, “I rushed every shot I took today. The course was fine. I just didn’t play well.” Duckworth noted that he parred the ninth and sixteenth holes, but had a lot of trouble with his sand play. “I really need to work on getting out of the traps. On the other hand, this was our first match in a long while, and it felt good to get the monkey off our back.”
The Vikings next host Delmarva Christian High School at Rehoboth Beach Country Club April 7, and travel to Wild Quail CC April 8 for a match against Caesar Rodney.