DOVER — Matt Rosal doesn’t mind when people compare him to his older brother, Nino.
Indeed, there’s no bigger compliment for the Caesar Rodney High senior golfer.
“I look up to him every day,” said Matt Rosal. “I just try to be like him. ... When someone compares you to your role model, I consider that an accomplishment. I love being the little brother.”
Rosal fired a 75 — making him the only player to shoot under 80 — as he finished five shots ahead of Cape Henlopen’s Matt Zehner in the 18-hole tournament played at Maple Dale Country Club.
The Riders also won their sixth straight team championship. CR finished with a score of 322 while Cape Henlopen took second with a 346.
CR put four players in the top eight of the individual standings. After Rosal, that group included Jack Dixon and Kyle Satterfield, who tied for third with 81s, and Vincent Alois, who tied for eighth with an 85.
In his last three Henlopen tournaments, Rosal won the individual title twice while finishing second a year ago. It was the fifth straight year that a Rider has won the crown.
Nino, who won the Henlopen in 2010 and ‘11, will graduate from the University of Delaware next week.
“He’s been a great leader, a great captain this year,” CR coach John Newman said about Matt Rosal. “He did a lot of good things both on and off the course. We weren’t very surpised that he played very well today.
“He doesn’t get flustered by things. If things don’t go perfectly for him, he just looks for the next hole. But he’s a very good golfer. He came in as a freshman on a very good team and fit in right away. He’s been a great player for us for four years.”
“He’s just an all-around good player,” said Dixon.
Rosal stayed out of trouble most of the time on Tuesday, carding just one birdie to go with four bogeys in his three-over par round. He birdied No. 16 after hitting a pitching wedge within 10 feet of the hole.
“I didn’t make too many mistakes and made every putt within six feet,” Rosal said about his round.
Of course, it takes more than one good score to capture a team title. For both Dixon and Satterfield, third was their best finish in the event.
Dixon is a junior while Satterfield is a sophomore, Rosal is the only senior among CR’s top six players.
“Jack’s been playing well the last couple weeks and Kyle’s been pretty steady all year,” said Newman.
The Riders, who have won 84 straight matches against Henlopen schools, face a pretty big challenge in the DIAA state tournament next week at Wilmington Country Club. The two-day, 36-hole event is being held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Salesianum is the favorite to win a second straight state crown after snapping CR’s streak of three titles in a row last spring. The Sals handed the Riders their only regular-season loss, 150-163, this year.
But CR’s players say they don’t mind being under the radar.
“I always like being the underdog,” said Satterfield. “We really don’t have anything to lose. We’re just going to go out there and do our best and see what we can do.”
“If all of us have our ‘A’ game, we have a chance to win,” said Dixon. “We’ve just got to keep practicing until then.”
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Rosal. “We’re going to have to work really hard in this next week to have any kind of shot.
“No one’s expecting us to win it so that takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders. The pressure’s now on Sallies and Tower Hill. We’re just going to go up there and play our best. We’ve got nothing to lose.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.