April 3, 2015
The Cape Henlopen High School varsity golf team opened their 2015 season with a fine 179-187 victory over Polytech High School on March 26, on the back nine at Wild Quail Golf and Country Club near Wyoming.
More than just the quail were wild, as the players and coaches were impressed by the incredibly strong winds that clearly affected play for both sides, especially on the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth holes.
Head Coach Claudio Smarrelli swears that the winds were reaching 60 mph gusts, directly into the faces of the players on the eighteenth.
At first, however, Smarrelli wasn’t even sure the match would take place, as the Vikings traveled north in drizzle to the Panthers’ home course.
By the time they arrived, however, the rain had mostly stopped, and play began.
Sophomore Matt Zehner led all Cape scorers with his 41, earning co-medalist honors with Polytech’s Cameron Glanden. “It was pretty windy, especially the last three holes–in your face,” Zehner said. He said that for those holes, he treated the wind as a two-clubber, for example playing his 6-iron on the 156-yard par 3 17th hole. That turned out to be his only “off” hole for the entire round, which featured a birdie on the eleventh hole.
On the seventeenth, however, Zehner said his tee shot was pin high. “Then I had a four-putt,” he said. “I left my first putt short, and the next one went two feet past. The third putt rimmed out, so that’s why there were four putts,” he said.
Fortunately, Zehner made a nice bounce-back par on the eighteenth hole, despite the wind. “It was just brutal with the wind in your face,” he said.
Senior Mason Jones picked up his steady play from last year’s varsity matches, shooting a 43 for third best among all participants. “I thought that was a decent start to the year,” Jones said. “I birdied the eleventh hole. The only hole I had trouble on was the [par-3] thirteenth hole. I skulled a few shots back and forth across the green for a 6. I still had five pars, though. The gusts were just so bad,” Jones said.
As for how he played for the wind, Jones said, “I was thinking, just hit the longest club possible for each shot. I reached the greens that way, and most of my pars were two-putts.” Mike DeStasio shot a 45, while Darren Branner posted a 50 to complete the team scoring for the Vikings. Branner said, “I played the first six holes well, and blew up on the last three.”
Smarrelli said that Maddie Baptiste’s score would have been far better, except for two holes: “She had a snowman  on the par-four tenth hole, and another 8 on the par-5 eighteenth.”
Jack Ashby’s first match of the season was also a bit of a struggle, including a nine on the par-3 seventeenth hole, courtesy of three balls in the water on the challenging layout. Smarrelli was pleased with his team’s performance overall, which matched the typical mid-season scoring by last year’s squad.
“Considering the wind and the weather, I thought they played really well,” he said. “All of them had trouble with the wind and the soggy ground from the morning rains.”
The Vikings’ next match was scheduled against Laurel High School at Kings Creek Country Club for Wednesday, April 1. Spring break then intercedes, with the team’s third match not scheduled until an April 13 match against Caesar Rodney High School at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.