Sussex Academy opens season with a few bangs
The Sussex Academy Seahawks’ commanding performances on the first two match days of the season boosted my preseason prediction that this team should be considered the leading candidates to win the state championship in late May.
Sarah Lydic, the 2021 state champion, won medalist honors April 4 with her six-under par 29 on the Jonathan’s Landing back nine, in a double win against Milford and Indian River. The Seahawks defeated Milford 136-182 and Indian River 136-189.
Senior Hannah Lydic’s 31, combined with Austin Dostal’s 35, were the next best scores for the team and among the rest of the golfers. Dominic Piperno and Tyler Healy both shot 41 to tie for fourth best for the Seahawks.
Head coach Doug Grove said the 29 set a school record, and he wondered if it also set a state record.
At the very least, Lydic tied the only other 29 that I know happened in a downstate high school golf match. On May 6, 2003, Tyler Witman went six-under par on the par-35 front nine at The Rookery during a match against Sussex Tech. Witman was a state champion for Cape, so the narrative parallels are certainly there.
The fun continued when Sarah Lydic again earned the medalist spot in the team’s April 5 double win against Caesar Rodney and Salesianum of Wilmington at Wild Quail Golf & Country Club. The Seahawks’ 143 total overwhelmed the 160 posted by the host Riders and the 161 scored by the Sallies squad.
Sarah’s three-under par 33, Hannah Lydic’s 34 and Sawyer Brockstedt’s 35 were the only scores to go under par on Wild Quail’s front nine. Austin Dostal’s 41 completed the Seahawks’ team total. Kristof Kopecky of Salesianum shot even par, and Caesar Rodney’s Evan Gebhart posted a 37 in the losing effort.
Cape golf team continues to improve
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team continued to lower its team scores with the Vikings’ 172 total in an April 4 tri-meet against Polytech and Delmar on the front nine at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.
The team lost by six strokes to Polytech’s 166 total, but defeated Delmar 172-210 to bring the Vikings’ record to 4-1. Cape’s total score continued the downward trend it has enjoyed since the season began, a good sign of overall progress.
Cape’s co-captain Tom Burn shot a 42 and was tied for best score by freshman Jacob Gabbard. Burn said he had three double bogeys, while Gabbard’s six-over score was a bit steadier.
Co-captain Seth Reynolds scored 43, his best ever in varsity competition. Dylan Steinwedel was pleased by his steady 45, his best of the young season. Ethan Mercer’s 45 included several three-putts. He struggled with slower green speeds in damp conditions.
The rainy, misty days of the week continued April 6, when the Vikings hosted Caesar Rodney on RBCC’s front nine. The Riders maintained their dominance over Cape once again with a 163-173 victory.
Nonetheless, Burn improved his scoring with a three-over par 39, highlighted by birdies on the two par 5s at the fourth and ninth holes. Gabbard also lowered his best score for the season to 40, two strokes better than the day before. Mercer’s 45 was third best for the Vikings, but he reiterated his commitment to reducing his strokes wherever possible. Senior Flynn Kalb completed the team scoring with a 49 in his first varsity match of the season.
Head coach Rob Harrod acknowledged the stiff competition his squad faced against Polytech and Caesar Rodney, both of which have beaten Cape in the last couple seasons. He complimented the Vikings for their continued work to lower their team scores, and the spirit the young golfers displayed during the matches.
Bob Kendall is a veteran caddie on the professional golf tours. In my observation of him over the last several years, he is also the consummate professional.
During the 2021 ShopRite LPGA Classic, for example, he stayed on task for his boss, Lindsay Weaver, while also helping others in the group whenever possible.
On the uphill par 3 15th hole, Jennifer Chang’s tee shot landed in the left greenside bunker, well below the surface of the elevated green. After she blasted out to 25 feet past the hole, Chang’s caddie began raking the bunker. Kendall cleaned Chang’s ball as her caddie finished smoothing the sand. Doing the other caddie’s usual pre-putt cleaning helped speed up play.
This was not the first time he helped the other caddies and players during that round. Whether by removing the pin for others, replacing it or dealing with a bit of ball cleaning as happened on the 15th, Kendall did what he could.
Most amateurs only rarely enjoy the services of a good caddie. Nonetheless, you can help your group keep up the pace by offering to do the same kinds of small favors Kendall performed during that round.