June 26, 2015
Much of the attention given to professional golfers focuses on the tournament winners, which is certainly understandable.
There are other interesting stories to be found during a pro tournament, however, even at the back end of the cut line.
I joined three golfers for the first tee time scheduled for the final round of the 2015 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. These players are sometimes called Dew Sweepers, because they provide that “service” to the other golfers.
Laura Diaz is a veteran LPGA golfer, with two victories and a four-time Solheim Cup participation record after coming to the Tour in 1999. Hee Kyung Seo joined the LPGA in 2011, and won the 2010 Kia Classic before she joined the Tour. She missed much of the 2014 season on maternity leave, giving birth to a son in August 2014.
Brooke Henderson is this year’s youth story. The 17-year old Canadian has taken advantage of sponsor exemptions to play very well on the Tour this year, while waiting to meet the age limit for full Tour membership.
All three golfers just made the cut at three-over par, ten strokes back of Morgan Pressel after the second round.
The eight or so fans joining the Dew Sweepers at 7:58 a.m. were about evenly split between the family and friends of Diaz, and the young girls and their parents who were obviously there for Henderson. Into a light breeze that freshened considerably later that morning, the three golfers teed off, and parred the first hole.
Diaz made the first birdie of the group on the 420-yard second hole, with Henderson’s power lip out and subsequent par disappointing her young fans. All three players made birdies on the par-5 third hole, with Henderson almost making eagle.
After some routine pars, Diaz made the first slip-up of the day, with short game troubles leading to a double bogey on the sixth. Seo, on the other hand, made a five-foot putt for birdie on the hole. After pars on the seventh hold, each golfer birdied the par-4 eighth, thanks to impressive approach shots.
Henderson and Diaz added more birdies on the par-5 ninth hole, while Seo made an unusual six. Seo’s tee shot on the 476-yard par 5 left her 220 yards out from the center of the green. Facing cross-bunkers edged with high fescue, Seo topped her three-wood directly into the hazard, three yards into thick, knee-high grass.
Dean Herndon, Seo’s caddie, later explained they couldn’t hit toward the green with such an awful lie. Both caddie and golfer agreed to hit back toward the tee, and Seo’s chopped wedge traveled 20 yards onto the fairway. Seo hit her fourth shot from about 170 yards, a chip shot for her fifth stroke to about 7 feet, and then a good putt for a “routine” bogey. Her playing competitors were free with their compliments, which might also explain why Seo made birdie on the next hole.
Diaz maintained her encouraging attitude throughout the day. She routinely praised the shots and putts of Seo and Henderson, and could often be heard chatting about other things, such as preschool graduations. She also broke up the crowd at the par-3 eleventh, when her par putt circled the hole before slowly falling in. “They make those holes round for a reason,” Diaz said.
Henderson showed off her power game throughout the round, and almost paid for it on the 320-yard twelfth hole. Her drive finished 65 yards out, left of the fairway, left of the cart path, and nearly stymied by overhanging tree branches. Undaunted, she hit a wedge to 12 feet above the hole, and calmly rolled in a birdie putt.
Diaz made a choked-down punch shot from the right rough, 135 yards out from the 13th hole, bouncing it onto the green and earning applause from the thirty or so fans now following the three golfers. Seo and Diaz made bogeys on the long, uphill par-3 15th hole, but the rest of the round finished with pars for them and Henderson.
As we watched, I had a nice chat with Ron Philo, Sr., Diaz’s proud father. He also mentioned that some of Diaz’s nephews played baseball at Sports at the Beach, making the small-world connections typical of the Cape Region.
Henderson finished with a 4-under par 67, ten strokes better than the previous day’s total that had dropped her into the Dew Sweeper threesome. “It was really nice to get some birdies today,” Henderson said.
All three golfers were applauded loudly from the stands surrounding the final hole, with Seo scoring two-under par and Diaz finishing one-under for the day. None of these Dew Sweepers would finish last among the money-winners for the Tournament. Diaz tied for 51st, Seo tied for 42d, and Henderson tied for 23d.
Herndon wins Delaware Women’s Amateur
Stefanie Herndon, a member of Kings Creek Country Club, won the 2015 Delaware Women’s Amateur Championship. The competition took place at The Rookery North and South Golf courses on June 16 and 17 respectively.
Herndon shot a pair of 75s for her 8-over par triumph. Diane Herndon and Emma Sills, also of Kings Creek CC, tied for third place at 14-over par.
Rehoboth Beach Country Club holds Member-Member Tournament
Rehoboth Beach CC kicked off its official tournament season June 13-14 with its Member-Member Tournament weekend. The event includes a dinner followed by two rounds of golf and the awards celebration. Twenty teams of women and thirty teams of men participated.
Jay Whitby and Dan Coar won the Men’s Competition with their combined score of 124. Kerry Lockwood and Jullie Burton teamed up to win the Women’s Competition with their 115 total score.
RBCC hosts Ladies’ Member-Guest tournaments
The Rehoboth Beach Ladies’ 9-Hole group held their “Salute To Golf” four-person scramble June 9. Members Jennifer Barrows and Florence Hatz, with their guests Dawn Dupre and Mary Ellen Quinn, won the day with a score of 29.
The 18-Hole Ladies’ held their Member-Guest event June 17, with a Safari Party theme and a competition format of Two Best Balls of Four at 90% USGA handicap. RBCC member Carol Wetherhold and her guests, Trish Galioto, Barbara Wisneski, and Faye Slatcher won the tournament with the low net score of 124. Ronnie Dannerhoj won the closest to the pin contest in the best way possible, with a hole-in-one on the par-3 fifth hole.
Boy Scout Troop 2540 Golf Tournament a success
The leadership of Cape Region Boy Scout Troop 2540 announced a successful Par 3 golf tournament fundraiser at Midway Par 3, held May 29. The Troop thanks the approximately 75 golfers who participated, as well as the support received from community businesses and families, especially title sponsor American Sign and Lighting of Milford.