Three Cape Henlopen seniors put forth maximum effort in challenging conditions at the 2019 DIAA High School Championship tournament, held May 28-29 at Cripple Creek Country Club near Ocean View. Dane Palmer, Saxon Kalb and Reed Jones finished their Cape golf saga in a tie for ninth place with Sussex Tech.
Twelve teams, including Cape, began the opening round along with 25 young golfers playing for the individual championship. Only a few threesomes had completed several holes before being forced to retreat to the clubhouse or other safe space because of a major thunderstorm.
The heavy rains drenched the course, and play was only able to resume after a two-hour delay. Despite the downpour, Cripple Creek’s famously fast greens continued to give many competitors a lot of trouble.
Tournament rules call for using the best four scores on the first day, with a cut at the low 60 and ties. Only teams with at least three golfers making that threshold continued the team competition in the next round, where the best three scores counted toward the total.
All of the Sussex County participating teams, including Cape, Indian River, Sussex Academy, and Sussex Tech, made the cut for the team competition. Red Lion Christian Academy and Concord High failed to finish as teams, but individuals from both schools continued playing. Cape’s Ben Skelley and Tommy Burn finished the first round but did not make the cut.
The second round had no weather delays, but the weather remained a major factor, with light winds doing nothing to alleviate the high temperatures that reached the 90s. The scoring for most of the players showed the effects of the heat and humidity, combined with even more challenging pin locations and yardage changes on the course.
Phoebe Brinker of Archmere won the individual and girls’ championship at 2 under par, with Rylie Heflin of Tower Hill taking second at 2 over par. Austin Barbin finished in third place overall and won the boys’ championship. Hannah Lydic of Sussex Academy was the high finisher among Sussex County golfers with her tie for 21st.
The other team finishes were as follows: (1) Tower Hill, (2) Salesianum, (3) Tatnall, (4) Caesar Rodney, (5) Archmere, (6) Indian River, (7) Sussex Academy, and (8) Charter School Wilmington.