“It’s a different style of play in that you each hole is important,” she remarked earlier this week. “You have to be more precise on every shot or you could lose the hole.”
Playing the Foxwood Harbor Golf Course in Gallatin for the first time, the Polk County High School senior-to-be wasn’t happy with her stroke play qualifying round (91) Monday but came back for the match play head-to-head battles with a renewed determination and outplayed three State Am veterans, including the final one Thursday on her home course.
Winning the first hole with a par, Triplett never trailed in the title match and when Mount Juliet’s Julie Marr drove her tee shot into the water off the 16th tee the Benton teenager claimed a 4 and 3 victory for the crown.
“I wish I had qualified better to have been able to play in a higher flight, but the women in this (Second) flight were plenty tough,” Triplett commented.
Starting out as the No. 7 seed in the Second Flight bracket, the two-time TSSAA State Championship participant defeated second-seeded Deanna Woods of Lebanon 4 and 3 in the opening round, then No. 3 Janice Sauter of Nashville in the semifinals before facing Marr for the title.
“I’ve been hitting the ball better each day and been more consistent,” assessed Triplett, who hit 13 of 15 greens and had a pair of birdies Thursday. “After Monday I decided no more high numbers. I drove the ball better off the tee and was more precise around the green.”
“Unlike Wednesday when I got behind and had to come back, I got ahead early (Thursday) and although she came back to tie the match a couple of times, I was able to keep hitting my shots and would pull back ahead,” related Triplett.
Bouncing back from adversity on the golf course is nothing new for Triplett as she fought back from putting three shots in the water with a birdie on her way to a sixth place finish in last fall’s TSSAA State Championship. After an opening round 78 in that tournament at the Willowbrook Course in Manchester, Triplett made up for hitting just one fairway on the final 18 holes with her short game and not having any three putts for an 82 to earn All-State honors.
After claiming Thursday’s state title, Triplett had to rush back from Gallatin to Chattanooga to pick up another award at the annual Best of Preps awards banquet. Being named one of the top high school golfers in the Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia area by the Chattanooga Times, she got to hear some words of encouragement from Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
“It’s been a busy week, but very exciting,” she remarked. “Winning this (state title) has really built my confidence in my game.”
Triplett plans to play in the Tennessee State Junior Championships next week at the Stones River County Club in Murfreesboro.
In the Championship Flight at the Women’s State Amateur, defending champion Kendall Martindale was upset by Lauren Stratton of Spring Hill in a 1 up match in Thursday’s semifinals. Stratton will tangle with Ashley Averitt, the 27th seed out of Oakland, for the championship today.
Averitt, who eliminated Lee University All American Courtney Shelton on Wednesday, advanced to the title match with a 1 up win over Kingsport’s Lacie York.