December 30, 2022
December 31 marks the end of this column’s twenty-fourth year and a busy twelve months of Cape Region golf.
January –Course superintendent Mike Pine goes scorched earth to remove unwanted vegetation at The Rookery. The PGA’s one-day 36-hole Playing Ability Test is a daunting barrier to entry for aspiring golf pros. I take lessons from Rehoboth Beach CC teaching pro Chris Grey for the PAT, making him question my sanity. Cape Region golf pros recall PAT experiences and strategies. My PAT at Ocean Pines near Berlin, MD doesn’t make the grade but earns respect from golf pros.
February – John Riley’s book, “How He Played the Game: Ed “Porky” Oliver and Golf’s Greatest Generation” examines the early days of modern professional golf. The 2022 PGA Merchandise Show has fewer exhibitors and attendees. Club Car shows off its Tempo Walk robot golf cart, while Graphite Design displays high-end golf club shaft models. Peninsula teaching pro Wayne DeFrancesco helps his friends at MakeField introduce their new putter at the Show.
March – Portugese craftsmen create beautiful Italian leather golf shoes for Duca del Cosma. Fifteen golfers make up the 2022 edition of the Cape Henlopen High School golf squad, hoping to qualify for team competition in the State championship. Defending state champion Sarah Lydic, her sister Hannah, and Sawyer Brockstedt headline a formidable golf team for Sussex Academy. US Kids Golf adds to junior tournament options in the Cape Region. The Vikings win their first match of 2022 against Smyrna at Garrison’s Lake, followed by victories against Lake Forest and Sussex Tech.
April – Youth on Course, a national junior golf subsidy program, comes to Mulligan’s Pointe. Sussex Academy’s Seahawks begin their season with a bang, including a 29 by Sarah Lydic. Cape splits with Polytech and Delmar, losing to the Panthers but defeating the Wildcats. Caesar Rodney continues its recent dominance over the spirited Vikings. The Lydic sisters take turns earning medalist honors as Sussex Academy wins its matches. Jason Leiggi of Milton makes two aces in the same round at American Classic. After losing to Milford, the Cape Henlopen golf team returns to winning ways. The Delaware State University women’s golf team takes third place in the Southland Conference championship. Local clubs begin weekly competitions.
May – Sussex Academy’s unbroken victory streak ends with a single-stroke loss to Tatnall. Cape’s Vikings go on another win streak but are thumped by Sussex Academy. The Seahawks win the Henlopen Conference championship at Plantation Lakes with Cape in fourth. Delaware Open winner Zac Oakley qualifies for the PGA Championship. ESPN films the first FlingGolf tournament at American Classic.
June – Hannah Lydic wins the first-ever Girls State Championship, while leading Sussex Academy to its first-ever state team championship in any sport. Brockstedt loses to Hannah in a playoff to take second place overall. Cape qualifies for the team category but misses the cut for the second round, an improvement on recent seasons. Brockstedt and friends raise over $111,000 for Alzheimer’s in the second annual Ace Cup at Kings Creek CC. The First Tee’s Delmarva Scramble is a success.
July – I play Wilmington Country Club’s South Course, site of this year’s BMW Championship for the PGA Tour. Hannah Lydic wins the 2022 First Tee National Championship, with sister Sarah taking fourth. Brockstedt qualifies for the Girls Junior PGA Championship at Cog Hill near Chicago. The Delaware Junior Golf Scholarship Fund awards five golfers for the coming year, including Hannah Lydic and Cape’s Seth Reynolds. Sarah Lydic plays the USGA’s Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay, WA.
August – Vimhue’s owner uses a Little Red Hen approach to promoting her successful women’s hat designs. LPGA veteran Ashleigh Buhai’s rare fit of temper during the ShopRite LPGA tournament spurs her to bounce back nicely. Zac Oakley wins his second Delaware Open.
September – Cape Region golf fans flock to the BMW Championship at Wilmington CC, including volunteer helpers, pro-am players, and spectators. The practice sessions of LPGA golfers are well worth copying by amateurs. I walk along with the family of PGA Tour pro Denny McCarthy during the third round of the BMW Championship. Delaware State University hosts a successful first collegiate women’s golf tournament at Kings Creek CC.
October – LPGA golfer Aditi Ashok’s steady round at the ShopRite LPGA Classic demonstrates how a relative short-hitter keeps up with longer-hitting competition. Harold Varner III and Alex Noren at the BMW Championship show what a difference staying in the fairway can make. Dartmouth takes the individual and team titles at the Lady Blue Hen Invitational at RBCC. Paul Caras of Milton makes his third ace 45 years after his second hole in one.
November – Austin Ebersole and Britt Morrison of American Classic Golf Club in Midway are the 2022 World League FlingGolf champions. Inflation hits the golf business like many others. Charity is the big winner at dozens of Cape Region tournaments
December – This year’s collection of what I don’t want for Christmas is remarkable, and not in a good way. On the other hand, local golf gift opportunities are very good.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to another year of writing about Cape Region golf