Playing in her first adult-level state tournament, Lydia Triplett shot a disappointing 91 in Monday’s qualifying stroke play, but instead of getting down on herself, the Polk County High School senior-to-be responded with back-to-back victories in the first match-play battles she’s ever played.
“I’d never played this course (Foxwood Harbor Golf Course) before and Monday I think I hit every sand trap they have,” Triplett remarked. “I think I sort of gave up toward the end of the round and didn’t play as good as I could.”
“I just had to put that round behind me and go out Tuesday with a ‘new day’ attitude and step it up,” she explained. That’s exactly what she did, being seeded seventh in the event’s Second Flight. Triplett knocked off a pair of State Amateur veterans, who were seeded second and third, in convincing fashion.
After a 4 and 3 victory over Deanna Woods of Lebanon Tuesday, Triplett went one better with a 5 and 4 win over Nashville’s Janice Sauter Wednesday.
“Both ladies are very good players. The lady today (Sauter) had a great short game, but I was able to play a little better,” she commented.
Today’s championship match opponent has had a week similar to Triplett’s, but has one distinct advantage over the Benton teenager — she’s playing on her home course.
“She (Julie Marr of Mount Juliet) had a bad round (92) Monday and qualified lower than she should have, but she’s knocked off the No. 1 seed (2 and 1) and the No. 4 (4 and 3),” Triplett related. “I know she’s playing on her home course and that gives her an advantage, but I feel good about the way I’m playing. I’ll just go and grind it out.”
Triplett credits part of her success this week to her dad, PCHS coach Bill Triplett, who has been carrying her bag.
“I’d never played in a tournament where you had a caddie before, so the first day it was more like a ‘dad and daughter’ relationship,” she explained. “The last two days we’ve been more like ‘player and caddy.’ We’ve been talking things over more. He’s been a lot more positive and supportive. That has helped my game tremendously.”
Triplett played in the State Junior Amateur last summer and will do so again next week. “I didn’t play that well last year but I think my experience this week will help me do well in the Junior next week,” she stated.
While Triplett is on the Gallatin course for her title shot today, the three other golfers with local ties have packed their clubs away.
Lee University junior-to-be Courtney Shelton came up just short in her Championship Flight Round of 16 match Wednesday.
The NAIA All-American from Franklin pushed Oakland’s Ashley Averitt to the final hole before succumbing to a 1 up tally.
Shelton’s Lady Flame teammate Madison Alexander and nine-time TGA Senior Player of the Year Maggie Scott both fell in Championship Flight consolation play Wednesday.
Alexander fell 3 and 2 to Goodlettsville’s Cori Burns, while Scott dropped a 5 and 4 decision to Ellen Mitchell of Memphis.