Playing for a spot

May 7, 2022

In high school golf, six golfers compete in the matches for their school, using the best four scores for the team totals. However, there are 15 golfers on the roster for Cape Henlopen’s squad. That presents a challenge for some to qualify for varsity competition.

As one of Cape’s assistant coaches, on match days I work with the non-starters to help improve their games to the point where they can contribute in varsity matches. I stress putting, short game and course management. That is where the fastest scoring improvements are found.

We are fortunate to be able to use the practice facilities at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, including the large putting green between the tee boxes for the first and 10th holes.

For putting practice, for example, I set up 18 “tee boxes” on the practice green, two for each of the nine holes spread out on the undulating surface. The putts can be uphill, downhill, sidehill or from the fringes, with right breaks, left breaks and no breaks, in lengths varying from 10 to 25 feet. Par is 36.

The players play as teams and as individuals to replicate what happens in varsity competition. Sometimes there are additional incentives, such as a 12-pack of Reese’s Cups for the winning team.

The golfers use scorecards to track their hole-by-hole performances. After the “round,” they return to each hole on which they took more than two strokes. They keep trying until they use only one or two putts for each hole. Sometimes that can take a while.

This putting challenge seems to be working. The young golfers learn that from 10 to 25 feet, a one- or two-putt result is the norm, and that they can do it with increasing skill and confidence.

I plan to continue investing in Reese’s Cups, Twizzlers and gummy bears for the rest of the season.

Winning ugly is still winning

The 2022 Cape Henlopen High School golf team had been lowering their team scores as the season progressed. From their opening 187 March 22, the Vikings had gone as low as 169 for the four scores used on April 12’s loss to Milford.

The scoring trend went the other way recently, but the team still came away with three victories.

At Baywood Greens May 2, the Vikings defeated Delmarva Christian 189-222 and Delaware Military Academy 189-217. Ethan Mercer’s 41 earned him medalist honors, with Jacob Gabbard posting a 47. Co-captains Tom Burn (48) and Seth Reynolds (53) completed the team scoring.

Head coach Rob Harrod said, “The course seemed to give all 18 players grief. The greens were lightning fast. The course is gorgeous, but real long. The guys all kept winning their groups, but it wasn’t their best.”

The Vikings traveled to Maple Dale May 3, defeating the Dover Senators 188-195. Burn and Mercer shared medalist honors with Dover’s Luke Ratliff with their 45s on the back nine. Dylan Steinwedel recovered a bit from recent matches with his 48, while Gabbard struggled to a 50 to complete Cape’s total score.

Harrod said, “Another ragged win. Ethan and Tommy carried us home.”

Academy golf team rolling along

The Sussex Academy golf team continues to add to its unbeaten record for 2022.

The Seahawks traveled once again to Jonathan’s Landing April 27 and defeated Lake Forest 157-235. Sarah Lydic took medalist honors with her two-under-par 34, followed by Hannah Lydic’s 36. Sawyer Brockstedt posted a 42 and Robert Healy completed the team scoring with his 45.

The charter school then hosted its first home match of the season at Kings Creek Country Club April 28. The squad’s 152 total easily outmatched Laurel High’s 256. Brockstedt and Sarah Lydic shared medalist honors with a pair of 35s on Kings Creek’s back nine. This was Brockstedt’s first medalist finish for the season. Hannah Lydic posted a fine 37, with Dominic Piperno’s 47 completing the Seahawks’ total for the day.

Oakley qualifies for major

Congratulations to former Delaware Open winner Zac Oakley for his recent performance in the 2022 PGA Professional Championship, held April 17-20 at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas.

The assistant pro at Bidermann Golf Club in Wilmington shot a 281 total, highlighted by a 65 in the third round, to finish T-6. The top 20 finishers qualify for the PGA Championship, one of the four majors in men’s golf. It will be held May 16-22 at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.

This will be Oakley’s first appearance in the PGA Championship.

Local club competition results

The Mulligan’s Pointe Ladies 18-hole group played a low gross/low net game May 3.

Linda Townsend won first-place gross in the first division, with Wendy Michaelson in second and Retta Rose Frampton in third. Janice Hausch won first place gross in the second division, with Rita McConnell taking second and Deb Malenski finishing third.

Kathy Hudak won first-place net in the first division. Carol MacFawn finished second and Peggy Clausen took third. Pam Pichola won first-place net in the second division, with Kathy Ragola coming in second and Donna Dolce taking third.


  • Fritz Schranck has been writing about the Cape Region's golf community since 1999. Snippets, stories and anecdotes from his columns are included in his new book, "Hole By Hole: Golf Stories from Delaware's Cape Region and Beyond," which is available at the Cape Gazette offices, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Biblion Books in Lewes, and local golf courses. His columns and book reviews are available at

    Contact Fritz by emailing

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