UD T-5th, DSU 10th at Lady Blue Hen Invitational
Tiffany Kong and Yanjun Liu of Princeton University finished first and second in the eighth annual Lady Blue Hen Invitational at Rehoboth Beach Country Club Oct. 17, leading the Tigers to a first-place team championship.
Kong scored five-over par in the 54-hole event. Liu finished a single stroke behind her teammate.
Both Delaware teams played well. The host squad from the University of Delaware tied for fifth with Georgetown University, and the Lady Hornets of Delaware State University finished 10th.
University of Delaware sophomore Oihana Etxezarreta finished third, tied with Yu Kyung Kim of Princeton and Isabella Gomez of Harvard.
RBCC head golf professional Pat Mastrian said more than 50 volunteers helped run the event along with Mastrian’s full staff. That level of interest and hospitality is one reason for the invitational’s continuing presence on the Cape Region fall sports calendar.
Freshman Alisa Khoklova was second best for the Lady Blue Hens with her T-12 finish, highlighted by her 76 in windy conditions in the Sunday round. Christina Carroll, a sophomore from Wilmington, tied for 28th. Senior Anna Kittelson shot a 75 in the last round to finish tied for 37th. Freshman Lillia Henkel finished in a tie for 51st.
Freshman Anna Ferreyra-Heit led the Delaware State University Lady Hornets with her T-21 finish. She scored in the 70s in all three rounds. Estelle Verny, a sophomore, tied for 32nd, while senior Taylor Simoneau tied for 37th. Freshman Amber Pennington tied for 57th, while the Hornets’ top golfer, Nattavadee Khunsri, struggled to a 71st-place finish.
The team results were as follows: 1. Princeton University (891), 2. Harvard University (902), 3. University of Richmond (904), 4. University of Pennsylvania (911), 5. University of Delaware (918), tied with Georgetown University (918), 7. Naval Academy (922), 8. St. John’s University (924), 9. Seton Hall University (927), 10. Delaware State University (939), 11. Fairleigh Dickinson University (961), and 12. Bucknell University (976).
All creatures great and small
Searching for any kind of local connection with someone you just met is a very Delaware thing to do.
Yet another experience with this First State cultural norm occurred during the Oct. 2 second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
I stood by the practice putting green waiting for the 7:10 a.m. start of a threesome that included Dana Finkelstein, Lindsay Weaver and Jennifer Chang. A few feet away, Henry Fall, Finkelstein’s caddie/boyfriend, watched his diminutive LPGA golfer make a few last putts before the round.
We introduced ourselves. Fall coached for the Bates College golf team in his native Maine pre-pandemic, and at this point is primarily caddying on tour for Finkelstein. When not out on tour, he also coaches at Milo Lines Golf in Gold Canyon, Ariz.
Later in the day, Fall pointed to the Rukket Sports logo prominently displayed on Finkelstein’s golf bag. Fall noted that the sports netting company is headquartered in Wilmington. I promised to follow up with the company after the tournament.
And so, by making that connection, Fall became an honorary Delawarean.
Rukket began with the creation of “pop-up” golf nets, suitable for backyards, golf ranges and basements or garages during inclement weather. The popular success of that initial product was soon matched by expansion to more golf netting devices. Rukket makes similarly helpful net training aids for other sports such as baseball, lacrosse, soccer and basketball.
Finkelstein and Fall maintain an online presence with Rukket, with a series of video golf tips featured on the company’s blog.
Nick Newlin, head of marketing for Rukket, is an enthusiastic supporter of the two brand ambassadors. “We’ve really enjoyed working with Dana and Henry. Their love for the game is evident in the great instructional videos they've produced for our audience, and it's been exciting watching Dana compete on the LPGA tour with Henry on the bag,” he said.
During that second round, Finkelstein gave Rukket another reason to be proud of its association with her.
On the 13th green, Finkelstein marked and picked up her ball a few feet from the hole, standing to one side so that Chang could make an unimpeded chip shot.
Suddenly, Finkelstein grabbed a wedge. She walked quickly toward her ball and stopped near it, placing the club’s leading edge just off the turf and in front of a small furry caterpillar.
After a few missed attempts, the caterpillar took the hint and climbed onto the wedge. Finkelstein walked the bug over toward a nearby patch of rough and deposited the critter, saving it from a potential catastrophe.
Note that she used her club while retrieving the bug – not her fingers, not even the gloved ones.
When I asked about her lifesaving mission after her round, Finkelstein laughed out loud. “He was eventually going to be in my way, and he was inching right toward my marker, so I was like, yeah, I’m going to get this guy off the green,” she said.
That kind of warm, caring relationship with the natural environment should make all golfers proud.