The Polk County junior hit just one fairway in regulation, but got up and down well and had no 3-putts on her way to an 82 in the final round of her second state tournament, giving her a 160 total and a sixth place finish on the WillowBrook Golf Club course.
“My irons and driver weren’t there for me today but my short game went well,” explained Triplett in a phone interview Wednesday night.
“Getting the birdie (on No. 8) after hitting my tee shots in the water on the previous two holes made me feel a lot better,” she added.
Fellow Polk County linkster Evan Ball also wrapped up his second state tournament trip with a 160 score after improving his opening round by two strokes Wednesday. The Wildcat junior finished tied for 32nd with two other players.
Ball birdied No. 9 after four straight bogeys on holes 4 through 7 for a 39 on the front nine, before adding four more bogeys after the turn for a 7-over 79 on his final 18 holes. He had shot 81 in Tuesday’s opening round.
Dowling Armstrong, from David Lipscomb High School in Nashville, won the state crown after firing a 6-under par 66 Wednesday to go with an even par round in the opener.
Chattanooga Notre Dame won the state team title with a 607, which was five strokes better than Lipscomb.
Signal Mountain successfully defended its girls title with a five-stroke victory (322-327) over Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK), while Marlee Ingham of Creek Wood ran away with the individual championship by a half dozen shots.
Ingham fired a 1-under 71 on the final 18 after being tied for the opening round lead with a 76 on Tuesday. DeKalb County sophomore Mallory Sullivan made a second-day charge for an 80-73 — 153 total.
Sarah Dolmovich, from Signal Mountain, and CAK’s Sophia Shubert tied for third with 156s, while Harpeth’s Mindy Llewellyn was the only other girl to finish ahead of Triplett with a 157.
“I’ve played against a lot of these girls in summer tournaments,” Triplett stated. “Playing so much this summer in two-day tournaments helped prepare me for this (state) tournament.”
Explaining this year’s event was much different than the one she participated in two years ago, Triplett related, “I had just started playing golf in June before my freshman year and made the state tournament that fall, so everything was a little scary then. This time around, I treated it like I would any other tournament.”
Firing back-to-back 39s Tuesday, Triplett had bogeys on Nos. 2, 3 and 9 to go along with her double bogeys on 6 and 7, plus her bird on the eighth-hole. She improved her 42 on the front nine to a 40 on the final nine holes with bogeys on 11, 13, 16 and 18.
“The coach who was her group’s scorer hugged her after the round and told her he was proud of her,” related Bill Triplett, Lydia’s dad. “He told her he’d seen a lot of other players just fold after a couple of bad holes like that, but she kept her head up and kept right on playing.”
Finishing in the Top 10 earned Triplett a spot on the all-state squad. “It feels good to make all-state,” she related. “There’s a lot of good girls on that team and its great to be a part of that with them.”
Although disappointed about her struggles Wednesday, Triplett came away with a good attitude about the experience.
“They way I look at it, it could have been better, but then again it could have been worse,” she remarked.