At 28 years old, Jay Whitby isn’t exactly a kid any more.
But the former Caesar Rodney High standout knows that, in the golf world, it takes a while to establish yourself as a genuinely good player.
Whitby hopes that adding a second Delaware Amateur Championship title to his resume on Wednesday will solidify his reputation just a little more.
Coupled with Whitby’s Delaware open title in 2013, he’s now won three times in the state’s biggest golf tournaments.
“I don’t think there’s a whole of people who are going to question whether I’m a good player any more,” said the Wyoming resident. “We’re almost getting to the point where it can’t be too much of a fluke if I’ve won two ‘Am’s and an Open. I feel like I’m gaining respect from a lot of guys, little by little.
“Hopefully, I can win a lot more of these. I’m pretty young. Hopefuly I can keep my game in shape for a while and win a couple more of each.”
After hanging around the top of the leaderboard for the first two days of the Amateur, Whitby took control of the 72-hole tourney on Wednesday at Bridgeville’s Heritage Shore Golf Club.
With two rounds played on Wednesday, Whitby fired a 68 and then a 71 to finish at eight-under-par 280, three shots better than second-place Greg Wolfe of Cavaliers (283). Michael Chanaud of Bear Trap Dunes took third with a 284.
Whitby was pretty consistent all the way through the tournament, carding rounds of 71, 70, 68 and 71. His 68 matched the second-lowest score of the event and he was the only player to finish all four rounds under par.
“Being up near the lead for every round, it kind of wears on you after a while,” said Whitby, whose other Amateur title came in 2006. “You’ve got to kind of put the scoreboard out of your mind and just play golf. I was able to hold it together pretty good.
“It was a pretty long day but the more holes the better. Often times when we play 18 holes in one day, I finish strong and I’m sitting going, ‘Man, I wish we could keep playing.’ It takes a little while to settle down but, the second time you go around, you feel a little less nerves. ... I like the 36 holes in one day because, once I get settled in, it takes a lot to really get me uncomfortable again.”
If there’s telling stat from Whitby’s tournament, it’s that five different times he followed a bogey with a birdie on the next hole.
That includes Wednesday’s first round when Whitby took a double-bogey seven on the second hole but answered with a birdie three on No. 3. That started a string of five birdies on the next nine holes.
Whitby said getting off to a slow start in a round is a habit of his — a habit that he’d like to break.
“I don’t know what it is,” said the former Arkansas-Little Rock player. “It’s not a whole lot of fun being two-over through three holes. But it kind of makes me focus and hone in a little bit more.
“I’m a grinder. I like to come from behind and I like to dig myself out of holes for some reason. I don’t throw in the towel ever on the golf course. I take pride in that.”
After Whitby, Wild Quail’s Nino Rosal was the next-highest downstate finisher, tying for seventh place with a 295. The recent University of Delaware graduate birdied three out of four holes in one stretch on the back nine to card a final-round 72.
Winning the Amateur makes Whitby look forward to playing in this year’s Delaware Open. The 50th Open will be played on Aug. 3-4 at Rehoboth Beach Yacht & Country Club.
“I’ve been playing really well down there,” said Whitby. “I wish it’d start tomorrow.”
American Legion baseball
Fox Post 2 12, RC du Pont Post 18 2: Travis Dill scattered six hits and two runs as he picked up the complete game victory and Fox Post 2 improved to 5-1.
Gabe Rivera went 2-for-3 with three RBI to lead the offense while Jake Williams doubled and scored twice. Aaron Jenkins had a pair of RBI and also scored twice.
Dakota Graham went 2-for-3 with two runs, Miguel Rivera was 1-for-2 with two runs while Sean Pool and Garrett Lawson also scored. Austin Johnson singled and scored a run.
CR grads fall in qualifier final: Kevin Papen and Sarah Candeloro, two Caesar Rodney High products, made it to the championship of the U.S. Open Middle States Sectional Qualifying Tournament where they lost to Andrei Deaescu (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Anda Perianu (Ithaca, N.Y.), 6-2, 6-1.
Papen and Candeloro had won four straight matches to reach the finals, including a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 victory in the semifinals over Igor Filipovic (East Windsor, N.J.) and Dijana Stanic Vescio (Freehold, N.J.).
SOL Bicentennial 7, Delaware-South 1: Delaware South was eliminated from the Carpenter Cup in Philadelphia Wednesday with its second loss of the double-elimination tournament.
Delaware-South had won its opening game on Tuesday, 13-2 over Lehigh Valley in the all-star tournament for high school players, but fell in its second game of the tournament on Tuesday, 13-7 to Mid-Penn.