The ability to go low on the course and the depth chart has been an unbeatable combination for the Delone Catholic golf team.
The Squires were again the class of the field in Monday’s YAIAA-3 tournament at Mountain View Golf Course. Paced by senior stalwart Nick Carpenter’s 78, Delone made it four wins in four events by topping runner-up York Catholic, 344-353. The Squires look to make it a clean sweep in their final two regular season events on Wednesday and Thursday at Flatbush Golf Course and Honey Run Golf Course, respectively.
Delone’s depth was on display once again with five players carding a round of 95 or better. The other five teams that competed on Monday combined to have four players match that total.
“We have the deepest team,” said Carpenter. “Even last year we had nine kids who could go out and shoot under a hundred, and other teams are struggling to put two or three kids under a hundred. We could go out right now and put 6, 7, 8 kids under a hundred. If one kid has a bad day, we have someone there to pick him up.”
Delone’s romp through the regular season has come as a bit of a surprise to head coach Chuck Minchik, who graduated six players from last year’s squad.
“Frankly, I was surprised this year,” said Minchik. “I thought we would be a developing team, in all honesty. But two of my freshmen (Tim Burke and Bryson Kopp) from last year improved dramatically. They are heads and tails better than last year, and both are averaging below 90.
“I thought I’d have a good fundamental four, but then we lucked into picking up two strong freshmen (Evan Glass and Camden Keller), and 16 kids came out for the team this year including four girls.”
Minchik has such an embarrassment of riches at his disposal that he has the ability to mix and match his players. He inserted Avery Kuntz into the lineup on Monday, sitting Keller who averages an 88. He said he’ll move pieces around again Wednesday and Thursday to allow more players to gain tournament experience.
While the Delone lineup can be fluid, a constant has been Carpenter. The senior delivered again on Monday with his fourth runner-up effort of the season. All four times the Squire senior has been on the heels of York Catholic’s Patrick Doran.
“One back for the third time and I lost by two the other time, all to good ol’ Patrick,” Carpenter said with a laugh, getting Doran’s attention. “I didn’t do anything good but nothing was bad. It was all just okay. My putter is always the best part of my game and I putted better than most people but not good for me. The greens were slow and bumpy.”
Carpenter was right off the tee and on his second shot on No. 1 but popped a nice chip shot onto the green that gave him a look from 15 feet to save par. His putt stopped inches short, giving him a tap-in bogey.
He was on the green in two shots at No. 2, which plays 329 yards. His birdie attempt from 30 feet stayed right as he settled for a par. A par putt on the ensuing hole came to rest just outside the lip, giving Carpenter a bogey.
Undeterred, he worked his way around the course to post yet another strong round, which is what Minchik has come to expect from his leader.
“Nick is fearless,” said Minchik. “He’s been playing in the No. 1 position for four years, he’s not afraid of anything. He’ll hit a wayward shot and come back and leave it four feet from the pin. It’s ridiculous. His short game is exceptional, he just needs to control his driver.”
Carpenter agreed with his coach, saying that the biggest club in his bag has been troublesome.
“Hopefully find a driver swing, that would help a lot,” he said, when asked what he would look to dial in leading up to the postseason. “I had it good for one day, shot a 73 that day and have not had it since then. If I can find it I can shoot low.”
Kopp shrugged off a shaky start which saw him at 6-over after just three holes, to post another solid round. The senior admitted that a poor drive and second shot on his opening hole (No. 11) affected his game early on.
“My driver went into a hazard, then I hit into a tree and shanked my next shot,” said Kopp. “I carried that into the next hole but after that I played well and was even through my next six (holes). I put it behind me because it was early and I knew I could still go out and play well, which I think I did.”
Kopp had a solid run at a birdie on No. 2 following an excellent drive down the left side of the fairway and a pitch to within 25 feet of the cup. He had to settle for a bogey after three-putting.
On the par-3 third, Kopp placed an iron shot to within 20 feet, giving himself an uphill look at a birdie. He gave it a good roll but had to settle for a tap-in par.
Bryson Kopp posted an 88, Burke came home in 94 and the freshman Glass, who Minchik said has loads of potential, put a 95 on the board.
Over a three-hole stretch to close his round, Glass showed flashes of what has Minchik so excited. On 18, Glass hit a fairway wood just over the green but chipped back on to give himself a chance for par.
His second shot on No 1. found the tall grass but after taking a drop he popped a nifty chip that that one-hopped onto the green and into good position. He then found the green in two on his finishing hole, which allowed him to take a run at a birdie putt.
With a deep and talented team under his watch, the Squire coach is excited about what lies ahead this season and beyond.
“I died and went to heaven,” said Minchik, who credited assistant Matt Bird for helping work with such a large group. “I’m having a blast. This is an act of love for me. We are very, very blessed to have a good group of kids out here.”
YAIAA-3 at Mountain View
Team: 1. Delone Catholic 344, 2. York Catholic 353, 3. York Tech 398, 4. Bermudian Springs 403, 5. Fairfield 415, 6. Hanover 418
Individual: 1. Patrick Doran (YC) 77, 2. Nick Carpenter (DC) 78, 3. Trenton Kopp (DC) 84, 4. Bryson Kopp (DC) 88, 5. Brady Walker (YC) 87, 6. Jack Huston (Han) 89, 7. Michael Shelley (YC) 93, 8. Tim Burke (DC) 94, 9. Tyler Pifer (BS) 95, 10. Evan Glass (DC) 95
Delone Catholic: Nick Carpenter 78, Trenton Kopp 84, Bryson Kopp 88, Tim Burke 94, Evan Glass 95, Avery Kuntz 102
Bermudian Springs: Tyler Pifer 95, Jordan Waltermyer 97, Aaron Weigle 104, Mason Diaz 107, Riley Martin 109, Caleb Knisely 134
Fairfield: Sarah Devilbiss 98, Eric Ball 99, Elysabeth Haugh 108, Griffin Tabler 110, Braidan Wastler 122
Hanover: Jack Huston 89, Tyler Newman 108, Jaxon Bell 108, Matt Nawn 113, Eli Swope 127, Andrew Nawn 132