BRISTOL, Tenn. — Daniel Boone’s Jalen Bridwell played his most meaningful round of high school golf Monday in the District 1-AAA tournament at the Country Club of Bristol.
Fortunately, he wasn’t aware of it until he got to the 18th green.
“I noticed everybody up here staring at me so I thought my score was probably going to count,” said Bridwell, who shot an 84 to clinch the Trailblazers’ first regional tournament appearance since 1998.
Boone needed the senior fifth man to turn in at least an 87 to nudge Sullivan South (322) out of third place. Even after three-putting 18 while under the microscope, he’d played well enough up to that point to get the ’Blazers (318) in with room to spare.
Boone coach Scott Martin had closely monitored Bridwell’s progress, but stayed mum on the big picture. It was the right thing to do.
“I’d rather have not known. It would have probably messed with my mind,” Bridwell said. “I’m probably more nervous right now than ever, knowing that it’s over and we can go to region.”
Hunter Salts shot a 77 for Boone, Taylor Smith a 78 and Zach Hancock at 79.
“This conference is brutal,” Martin said. “I’m really proud of my kids. We had a good year and had a good day today. We barely squeaked in but we made it. We’re in the region.”
Science Hill won the boys’ team title with a 298, ensuring the opportunity to defend its 2010 Region 1-AAA championship. Zach Botts, the individual runner-up, paced the Hilltoppers with a 71.
“I hit the ball tremendously well. I hit about 15 greens. I just did not putt very well. I had 35 putts,” said Botts, who said he’ll be working on his short game in preparation for next Monday’s Region 1-AAA tournament at Millstone Golf Club in Morristown.
Science Hill’s depth came into play. Fifth man Andrew Simonsen shot a 73 to keep the ‘Toppers below 300 strokes. Cody Campbell carded a 75 and Evan Crigger turned in a 79.
“Zach played well and Andrew Simonsen coming through on the back end really did a good job for us,” said ’Toppers coach Kevin Vannoy. “I’m really pleased with what they were able to do.”
Sullivan South’s Cayman Ratliff collected medalist honors, shooting a 70 despite a little trouble late on the back nine.
“I was 3 under at 15 and double bogeyed 16 and 18. But still, I’ll take it,” said the Rebels sophomore, who collected his first district medal. “I’m pretty confident. I’ve been swinging really well.”
Ratliff was one of five individual qualifiers for the regionals, including Sullivan Central’s Jackson Wise (76), Volunteer’s Nick Bradshaw (77), and Tennessee High’s Nick LeBar (76) and Morgan Sindelar (76).
South’s girls delivered as expected, winning the team trophy with a 152. Junior Lacie York was the medalist after a 74 and sophomore Allyson Dunn fired a 78.
“On our first side, which was the back, I played pretty solid. I hit in the hazard twice and still managed to come out with bogey and finished 1 under on the back,” York said. “The front was kind of a struggle, but I kind of pulled something together.”
While the Dobyns-Bennett boys didn’t have their best collective round of the season, fifth man Neil Delwadia came through with a 76 that kept the Indians solid for the regionals with a second-place 310.
“The main thing is that we qualified for the region. We didn’t win it, but we hung in there,” said D-B coach T.J. Ross, who got a 73 from Blake Blizzard, a 79 from Ken Miller and an 82 from Drew Doran. “This is by far the worst round we’ve had all year. Hopefully we can get it together.”