June 2, 2000
Cape Henlopen High School’s golf team finished their season with a flourish.
The Vikings took second in the Henlopen Conference Championship on May 25 at Wild Quail Golf & Country Club near Wyoming. This week the team finished fourth in the two-day State Championship, completed on May 31 at Shawnee Country Club.
The team score of 323 in the conference tournament was 7 strokes better than last year, but still 9 strokes back of perennial favorite Dover High School. Caesar Rodney took third place with a 332, followed by Milford’s 346.
Mark Johnson led the Vikings with a 78, which was good for third place overall. Tyler Witman took 5th with a 79, and Adam Talley and J.J. Oakley both shot 83.
Coach Jerry Dorneman felt his team played well that day: “They improved on their course scoring from the dual meet earlier in the season, and that was a good sign.”
Conditions during the opening round of the state tournament on May 30 were tough. A 15-20 knot east wind, on a cloudy day that never went past the low 60s, greeted the players. Several Shawnee Country Club holes are extremely difficult with a strong east wind, especially the par 5 8th hole and the 440-yard par 4 18th hole.
This year marked the first time the state tournament had a limited field. Bill Perdew, the DSSAA Golf Committee Chairman and Christiana High School golf coach, explained that three automatic berths went to the conference leaders in the Blue Hen, Independent, and Henlopen Conferences. A fourth automatic berth went to the non-conference school with the best record. The rest of the teams were selected using a point system for wins and ties during the season.
In addition, the top 24 players from conference meets whose teams did not qualify were also able to play for the individual championship.
After the first day, the top four scorers for each team qualified to play the second round. In addition, any player within 10 strokes of the lead also qualified for the next day.
Dover’s Chris Noll led all golfers on May 30 with a 5-over 75. The Senators combined for a 314 in the first round, followed by Milford (322) and Tatnall (324). Cape and Salesianum School in Wilmington tied for 4th with a pair of 329s.
Witman led the Vikings with a 78. After a one-under par 35 on the front nine, he struggled to a 43 on the par 34 back nine.
Talley shot an 80 and said, “I struggled with my putting. On the other hand, I was hitting the fairways with my new driver.”
Johnson had a short explanation for his 85: “The golf course whupped my rear. I misclubbed several times, and flew the green on some holes.”
Josh Marr completed the qualifying scores with an 86. “I struggled to get pars,” he said.
Oakley and Beau Marr both shot 87s, and therefore missed out on playing the next day.
Conditions on the second day of the state tournament were better. The east wind was still present, but only reached 10 knots at most. The sun made a rare appearance for the spring and temperatures rose to the 70s.
Josh Marr finished first for the Vikings with an 81. “The back nine played easier today,” he said.
Johnson then improved on his first day round with an 83, but he wasn’t pleased. “I whipped myself today. I hit only one green in regulation, and was in sand traps on at least 5 holes.”
Talley next came back to earth a bit with an 88. “I missed several putts for bogeys,” he said.
Witman finished the team scoring with a 79 for his second round, which combined with his 78 for a fourth place individual score of 157. “I had eight lip-outs, but no double bogeys,” the freshman explained.
Chris Noll won the individual championship with a 6-over 146. Mike Tobiason of St. Elizabeths and Willy Sezna of Tatnall both shot 155 and tied for second.
The Viking team total of 660 was only two strokes behind third-place Salesianum, and 31 strokes better than Cape’s seventh place finish last year.
Milford’s second place score of 652 trailed Dover by 14 strokes. Buccaneer Coach John Bayalis said, “The kids played great. They put two good days together.”
Dorneman appreciated his team’s efforts. “It was a good season. We have a nucleus of 4 starters returning to build toward the next year.”
The DSSAA officials were extremely pleased with Shawnee’s role as a first-time host. Perdew said, “The club was very accommodating. We couldn’t have asked for more cooperation. The course was in good shape, and [club professional] Jim Kealey did a wonderful job.”
Tyler Witman was a tired puppy during and after the first round of the State tournament on May 30, but it was understandable. He returned home to the Cape Region at 2 a.m. that morning, straight from a major junior tournament at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Witman won the International Junior Golf Tournament in the 13-15 year old bracket with a three-day total of 210. After starting Monday’s final round three strokes back of the leaders, Witman blew by with a 67 to win by three strokes.