There was nothing close about the team races in the TSSAA Region 1-AAA Golf Tournament at The Country Club Monday but the individual contests were a totally different story.
Volunteer sophomore Jon Wes Lovelace won a playoff for the boys championship with a birdie on the first playoff hole after he and Seth Robinette of Sullivan Central both shot one-under 71 on the day.
And there was also a playoff for the final individual spot in next week’s state tournament with Tennessee High’s Jack Tickle holing out for an eagle from about 30 yards off the green on the first hole to defeat Dobyns-Bennett’s Taylor Kilgore after both carded 73s.
Science Hill captured the boys team title as all of its players shot in the 70s while Tennessee High strolled to a 22-shot win in the girls title chase.
The top team in boys and girls and the top three individuals not on that team all qualified for the state at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester.
In the playoff, Lovelace hit his drive into perfect position on hole No. 1 and after Robinette’s second shot was short of the green he smacked a five-iron some 20’ in back of the pin.
Robinette chipped on and then missed his birdie putt. Lovelace rolled his third shot within two inches of the cup and tapped in for the victory.
“That was probably the best shot I hit all day with my driver,” said Lovelace. “After I saw him not get on the green with his second shot, that’s all I wanted to do was get on. I knew if I did that and made birdie, I’d have a good chance to win.”
Lovelace had a very steady round. He bogied the fourth hole but got that stroke back with a birdie at six. He hit a great shot on nine and knocked in another birdie and then had a par on every hole on the back side.
Robinette made the playoff after a 3-over 39 on the front nine. He had birdies on the first four holes on the back before a bogey at 14. He got back under par with his final birdie at the difficult par three 17.
Those two players took the first two individual spots in the state with the final up for grabs between Tickle and Kilgore. Kilgore was well left off the tee in the playoff and not able to go for the green while Tickle was left but had a clear shot.
Kilgore hit his ball back into the fairway and, after Tickle was short on his second shot, he hit a nice shot leaving himself around 25-foot for birdie. But he wouldn’t have to even attempt the birdie putt as Tickle popped his ball on to the green and it went in the cup.
East’s Sawyer Spoone was in the hunt for the boys crown until late in the round. Spoone was tied for the lead after the front nine with a 1-under 35. However, Spoone wound up with bogies on both 16 and 17 and finished at 74, one stroke out of the playoff.
Science Hill shot 299 to capture the boys title. Jackson Skeen led the Hilltoppers with a 72 while Tarun Hoskere shot 75. Carter Counts and Jacob Oakley both turned in 76’s while Ross Boehling’s 77 didn’t count in the team scores.
Greeneville was a distant second at 318. Morristown West wound up third with a 321 and Jefferson County claimed fifth at 333.
Sloan Brooks and Noah Morrison led the Trojans as both fired 79. Kevin Campbell shot 80 and Eli Steisslinger had an 83. Brock Shultz was the fifth player and carded an 89.
The Patriots were paced by Nic Ravnborg’s 81. Blaise Donahoo shot 82, Noah Henshaw 84 and Ethan Daniels 86. The non-counting score was a 91 by Jacob Moore.
Tennessee High had an amazing round of 145 as twins Isabella and Noelia Adkins shot 72 and 73 while teammate Madeline Simcox shot the fourth best round for any girl at 75 and her score didn’t even count.
Sullivan South’s Lady Rebels took second at 165 and Dobyns-Bennett, led by girls medallist Isabella Van der Biest’s 71, shot 167 for third. Morristown East was next at 173.
Terrie Linn Lawson shot an 84 to lead the Lady Hurricanes. Sable Burnside turned in a 89 and Macy Drinnon 106. Jefferson County’s lone contestant Madison Cline shot 90.
Van der Biest played the front at even par before registering an eagle at 10. She birdied 16 and had bogies at 14 and 17 to claim the title.
Sullivan South’s Kara Carter shot 76 while Grainger County’s Neely Yates fired a 79 and those two will join Van der Biest as individuals in the state tournament.