April 7, 2023
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team stumbled a bit in recent matches but there is still time to improve and enhance the Vikings’ chances for post-season play.
On March 20 the team traveled to Wild Quail Golf & Country Club and lost to Henlopen Conference powerhouse Caesar Rodney, 154-179. CR’s Gavin Garrison won medalist honors with a one-over par 37, with the next four scorers also on his team.
Kingston Davis led the Vikings with his 41, good for fifth place overall. Ethan Mercer posted a 43, with Jacob Gabbard one stroke back. Tyler Healy and Bret Miller tied for the fourth scoring spot for Cape with 51s.
Mercer noted his sole double bogey on the first hole, while Gabbard blamed poor club choices for his troubles.
The Vikings’ lost their next match March 31 at Jonathan’s Landing against Lake Forest, 174-178. The Spartans are much improved from the past few seasons, with some promising freshmen helping their team.
Mercer won medalist honors with his 41. Gabbard shot a 45 and Healy and Miller tied again with 46s to complete the Viking scores. However, three Spartans scored better than Cape’s last three players to create the winning margin.
Miller said he had trouble with his iron shots, while Gabbard said his 3-wood shots did not go as planned. Mercer said his Lake Forest round combined his best and his worst. After playing the first few holes with double bogeys and a Conference-max score on a par 3, Mercer mixed birdies and pars for the second half to bring his total back to something acceptable.
The Vikings returned to Wild Quail April 4 for the match against Polytech, hoping for better results but losing again, 160-183. The Panthers’ Hayden Barr and James Watterton earned co-medalist honors with a pair of 38s.
Davis tied with Polytech’s Brody Seip and best among Cape’s squad with his 41. Mercer’s 47 and the 48s posted by Gabbard and Healy completed the Viking total.
“Not liking the losing streak at all,” said head coach Robert Harrod. “It’s a lot of the little things adding up. The second match we lose by four strokes, and I watched each one of [our] guys probably give away three or four strokes.”
To mix things up and test how other Viking golfers might perform, Harrod put out a revamped roster for the April 5 match against Woodbridge on the front nine at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.
Several Cape players, all tenth graders, rose to the occasion as the team won, 190-277.
Dalen Daminger’s 44 won medalist honors in his first varsity match since March 28 against Sussex Tech. Travers Johnson posted a 45 in his first-ever varsity contest. Eddie Ghabour contributed a 48 in his fourth match and Brendan Staggs’ 53 completed the team score in his first-ever match.
A visibly relieved Harrod said, “Just coming out of a tough stretch, it was good to see some guys go out and have fun playing golf today. We started new people, everybody played with excitement and enthusiasm and that was just really cool. I’m looking forward to coming out of the break and parlaying this win with the guys that did well today and see what we can get ourselves into later in the season.”
At this point the Vikings’ scoring averages remain a few strokes below last year, which they finished 14-4. However, selection for the State championship is based on handicapped individual scores in at least six matches. Team records are no longer used to fill the field. To enhance Cape’s chances for post-season play, each golfer needs make continued incremental improvements to assure a maximum six-player contingent finishes among the top 96 Delaware scholastic golfers.
Now sitting at 3-3, Cape returns to action after spring break April 18 with a match against Milford High School at RBCC.
Local club competition results
The Mulligan’s Pointe Ladies began their 2023 competitive season April 4 with a scramble.
Valerie Grib, Kathy Hudak, Wendy Michaelsoin, and Rina Pellerini took first place. Tammy Findlay, Gail Logullo, Bonnie Quesenberry, and Susan Shockley finished second.
Long enough for you?
It is Masters Week, and while waiting for the first group’s opening drives Thursday morning dozens of golf pundits ruminated about Augusta National’s recent extension of the famous 13th hole. Built at a reported cost of $1 million per additional foot, the dogleg par 5 now stretches 545 yards, 35 yards longer than last year’s set up.
The change also comes on the heels of the recent request for comment from the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association. The Rules of Golf authorities propose to limit the total carry distance of golf balls used under a new Local Rule for men’s “elite competition” such as the majors, PGA and DP World Tour events, and perhaps significant amateur tournaments such as the British or U.S. Amateurs.
That issue deserves more thought and analysis for a later column. For now, I will just note that the predicted bad weather for Augusta this weekend may cause more impacts on ball distance and course management strategy than any man-made suggestions.