First time tie breaker playoff gives Tower Hill state team championship over Tatnall
June 2, 2023
Tower Hill School defeated The Tatnall School in an unprecedented six-golfer playoff for the DIAA State Team Championship, held May 30-31 at Baywood Greens.
After two 18-hole rounds in windy, challenging conditions at the Long Neck course, the two Wilmington prep schools tied at 530 strokes for first place.
Operating under DIAA rules, the two teams had their three best-scoring golfers for the May 31 round head back to the 18th tee for an aggregate score playoff.
Tower Hill’s Avery McCrery, Sawyer Brockstedt, and Michael Dignazio parred the hole. Tatnall’s Win Thomas, Matthew Homer, and Jeffrey Homer made two pars and one bogey to finish second.
Tower Hill head coach Kathy Franklin said she has coached high school golf for 23 years and there has never been a playoff for the golf team championship [DIAA officials confirmed that statement].
“It’s great. The kids just did a fantastic job. We’ve lost to Tatnall the last couple years in regular dual matches, this year by 10-15 strokes. I’m happy for our kids. We certainly beat what was on paper the best team in the state. It’s just that it’s the scorecard that day what matters,” she said.
McCrery also won the girls’ individual championship with a fine performance, combining a one-under par 71 the first day with a stunning 7-under par 65 in the second round.
“I just felt really comfortable out there today,” she said. “I hit 18 greens in regulation. The ball-striking was really good. The course is in excellent shape.” McCrery said she played a separate competition the week before, a practice round tournament for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, and credited that experience. “I was competition ready, and really in the zone,” she said. “I just felt really good out here.”
Meredith Finger of Archmere Academy finished second, followed by Danielle Higbee of Archmere (3), Sarah Lydic of Indian River (4) and Brockstedt (5).
Tatnall’s Thomas won the boys’ individual championship with a 2-over par total. Matthew Homer took second, followed by Jeffrey Homer (3), Anthony Antao of Friends (4), and Joshua Freeman of St. Georges Technical High School (5).
Archmere Academy finished third in the team competition, followed by Caesar Rodney (4), Charter School of Wilmington (5), Polytech High School (6), Salesianum School (7), Sussex Academy (8), and Cape Henlopen (9).
Four high schools did not finish the team contest when not enough of their golfers made the cut for the second round: Appoquinimink High School, Delmarva Christian High School, St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington, and Friends.
Cape golf team pleased with team’s performance
Three Cape Henlopen High School golfers made the cut for the second round of the state championship, qualifying the Vikings for a team finish for the first time since 2019.
Three other Vikings, Kingston Davis, Jacob Gabbard, and Dalen Daminger missed the cut after the first round.
Tyler Healy tied for 24th with his 85-86-171 total. “This was my first year making the cut, so it feels good,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll do it again next year. These were tough greens and hard to read. Fortunately, I had a few hot streaks.”
Ethan Mercer finished his high school golf career two strokes back and tied for 30th, improving his first day 88 with an 85. “It was a good day today. I heated up a bit on the back nine.”
Travers Johnson struggled to a last place 50th spot among the boys after the second round. “I just kind of blacked out. I had trouble with my iron shots, putting, and drives. Other than that,” he said with a smile.
Host Baywood Greens receives high marks for DIAA State Golf Championship
The Golf Association of Philadelphia administered the DIAA State Golf Championship, led by Laura Heien, GAP’s Director of Championship Administration.
Heien said GAP was pleased with Baywood Greens as this year’s tournament host.
“It’s fantastic. They’ve been incredibly supportive of all the juniors, especially with the practice rounds prior to championship week. The maintenance team crushed it, the greens are putting well, the course is in wonderful condition for the players. Obviously it’s been windy, so tough for the players, but it’s been a great two days.”
Heien suggested other clubs should also host the championship in the future. “They should recognize the quality of play, with players under par. We’ve got great players in a team competition. [They should] consider showcasing the level of talent we have in Delaware and letting the kids take shot at their course,” she said.
Local club competition results
The Mulligan’s Pointe Ladies 18-Hole group played a Criers game May 30. Ann Reid, Valerie Grib, and Susan Gratcomb won the first division, with Kathy Marks, Mary Louise York, and Pam Pichola winning the second division.
Forty-two golfers played the Kings Creek Country Club Ladies 9-Hole group 1 best of 4 team better ball game May 23.
Sara Cavendish, Deborah Grant, Pamela Cranston, and Kathleen O’Connor won first place, with Christine Emery, Cathy Larrabee, Ann Bailey, and Kaye Allison finishing second.
Judy Rayner, Sandy Singer, Jen Walker, and Kim Parks (blind draw) tied for third place with Kim Parks, Beth Andrews, Beth Cohen, and Nancy Derrickson.