Congratulations to freshman Matt Cleary who won the state championship in golf.
Matt is first state golf champion in Tower Hill's history. As a team, Tower Hill placed 4th in the state. David Saunders and Patrick Kelly played through the first round, while Zach Nitsche, Ryan Cleary and Russell DiGate competed in the final round.
The following is republished with permission from The News Journal.
Written by Kevin PhillipsWILMINGTON
— In a battle of freshmen, Tower Hill’s Matthew Cleary and Tatnall’s Davis Mitchell battled stroke for stroke in the second round of the DIAA Golf State Championships on Wednesday at Rock Manor, and nothing was decided through regulation.Both Cleary and Mitchell finished the two-day tournament at 145 through 36 holes, necessitating a sudden death playoff that started on the 359-yard par-four first. The playoff lasted one hole, as Mitchell bogeyed while Cleary parred the hole to win his first career state title.
“It feels really good to win. I was trying to pick out my targets and get to my targets. I just played my game,” Cleary said. “On the putt, I focused on swinging back and forward.”
Cleary gained his advantage over Mitchell on their approach shot to the green. Cleary’s second found the green 20 feet from the pin while Mitchell’s shot came up short of the putting surface.
Both players used a spectacular shot on the 528-yard par-five 10th to get their round going after an uneven front nine. Mitchell’s tee shot landed in the fairway 235 yards short of the green, and, using a 3-wood, his second shot went into the hole for a rare double eagle.
“I didn’t hit a great drive off the tee. I came out of it a little bit. I took out a 3-wood, and it was going right at it,” Mitchell said. “I thought, initially, it was over the green, but my uncle said to look in the hole. I found two balls in the hole.”
The other ball Mitchell found in the hole belonged to Cleary, who sank a 90-yard shot for eagle using his 58-degree sand wedge.
Finishing one shot behind Cleary and Mitchell was Caesar Rodney’s Samantha Leite, and her two-day total of 146 helped the Riders clinch their third straight state team title. Caesar Rodney finished with 605 strokes, besting the second-place Hornets by 20 and third-place Salesianum by 22.
“It feels great, especially being in my senior year,” Leite said. “I know that Joe (Visalli), our other senior, really wanted to win it too. We all did our best. I’m really excited.”