Retired school teacher Maggie Scott has nine Senior Amateur Player of the Year awards, including her latest last year and will be playing in her 36th “state am,” while Polk County High School rising senior Lydia Triplett will participate in her first.
“This should be a good tournament,” declared Scott, who won the event in 1994. “I’ve never played this course. In fact I’ve never been to Gallatin.”
Scott’s only tournament action so far this year has been at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club Member-Guest event, which is the site for the USGA Senior qualifier she will participate in later this summer. Scott will also play in the State 4-Ball and Women’s Senior Amateur events this summer.
Likewise, Triplett hasn’t had much opportunity to play this spring, because she is a standout member of the Polk County fast-pitch softball team that advanced to the TSSAA Region 3-AA Tournament, but is excited about the opportunity.
“During softball season I only get to play (golf) about once a week, but I have been playing as much as I can since softball ended,” explained Triplett, who finished sixth in the TSSAA Golf Championships last fall. “My golf coach encouraged me to play in bigger tournaments where college coaches can get a look at me. Deloris Haynie mentioned something about the ‘state am’ to me, so we decided I should enter this year.”
“This is the biggest tournament I’ve entered,” she related. “It’s the first one I’ve played in where I have to have a caddie.” Her dad, Bill Triplett, will be on her bag for the event. The TSSAA All-Stater played in the State Junior Amateur last year.
Lee University standouts Courtney Shelton and Madison Alexander are also a part of the expected 70-player field that will gather Monday at Foxland Harbor Golf and Country Club in Gallatin. Longtime local standout golfers Linda Mullins and Dr. Lisa Daubner have chosen not to participate in this year’s state amateur.
A NAIA All-American, Shelton was low-medalist at four tournaments during the collegiate fall and spring seasons, including being named the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year. The Franklin native had nine Top 5 finishes in 10 tournaments as a sophomore.
Shelton and Alexander, who is from Jonesborough and played at Science Hill High School before coming to Lee last fall, led the Lady Flames to an 11th place finish at the NAA National Championships last month.
The prestigious Women’s State Amateur event will begin with 18 holes of stroke play on Monday before the field is divided into flights for match play the rest of the week, with the champion to be crowned Friday.
Leading the field will be defending champion Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City. In addition to claiming last year’s title at Blackthorn Club, the Vanderbilt University golfer also won the 2011 Tennessee Women’s Open and the 2009 Tennessee Women’s Amateur titles.
In addition to Martindale, current Commodore teammate Lauren Stratton of Spring Hill hopes to add some hardware to her trophy case. Closing her junior year ranked 21st in the country based on the Golfweek/Saragin Rankings, Stratton will prove to be a contender. Sarah Harris of Hermitage, the 2011 Girls’ Junior Amateur Player of the Year is also a player to watch this week.