By Neil Geoghegan
@NeilMGeoghegan on Twitter
EAST MARLBOROUGH >> For many years, Unionville and Downingtown East have had a stranglehold on girls golf supremacy in the Ches-Mont. But that certainly isn’t the case for 2023.
The Downingtown West Whippets are the league’s new top dog (pun intended), and Tuesday’s dual meet at Unionville may have been the final salvo. West had six players break 50 on its way to a 183-192 triumph at Kennett Square Golf & Country Club, the Longhorns’ home course.
“This has been a few years in the making,” said Whippets head coach Andrew Braun. “We are very deep, as evidenced by our scores today.
“This was a match we had circled from the beginning of the season. We knew (Unionville) would give us a run for the money on their home course.”
Now 5-0 in the league (7-0 overall), West did not have the individual medalist, but did boast the kind of depth that can win championships. Junior Emma Lewis paced the Whippets with a 42.
“Our team is the best group of girls I have ever been a part of,” Lewis said. “Everyone is so nice to each other and willing to put in the work.”
Lewis did not have a perfect start, but she clustered pars at Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to finish strong. Teammates Lauren Leshko and Malaina Druffner added a 44 and 47, respectively, for West.
“I have played here before and it wasn’t as nice as today,” Lewis explained. “I mapped out the course and tried to come out with a better mindset than before.
“My round was a little all over the place, but after a bad shot I would just put it behind me for the next shot and move on.”
Junior Mira Patel paced all scorers with a 40 for the ’Horns. But Unionville counted just one more score under 50.
“Mira just steps up and hits the ball with confidence,” said Longhorns coach Joe Sudimak. “She is a good ball-striker. To get into the 30s, she needs to be a more consistent putter from six feet in.”
To round out the scoring for the Whippets, three players – Rachel Schuda, Eva Simmons and Reagan McGruther – all carded 49s. But West only needed to count one of them.
“In years past, Downingtown East and Unionville have had a tight grip on the Ches-Mont,” Braun said. “So beating both of those teams at their home courses this year is a great accomplishment. But we are not done yet. We have our eye set on things much bigger than Ches-Monts.”
Sudimak added: “Our goal heading in was to be competitive. We knew (Downingtown West) is a good team – they are deep and well coached. So to lose by nine, I think we achieved our goal today. We are moving in the right direction.
“We need to hold our heads up. We did some good things today.”
Downingtown West 183, Unionville 192
Par 35 at Kennett Square G&CC
Downingtown West: Lewis 42, Leshko 44, Druffner 48, Schuda 49, Simmons 49, McGruther 49.
Unionville: Patel 40, Wilson 47, Avondolio 51, Lesperance 68.