NASHVILLE – It’s not much of a secret anymore, but if there’s a little snack distribution late in Sophia DiPaolo’s golf games — watch out.
It was Welch’s Fruit Snacks this time. And the “birdie fuel” came through once again.
Similar to Michael Jordan’s “Secret Stuff” from “Space Jam” — yes, the first one — DiPaolo used a quick snack attack courtesy of Franklin High School golf coach Jon Whipple to close out her final three holes with a pair of birdies and finish with a 3-under 69 for the day Tuesday.
Passing the clubhouse at the Two Rivers Golf Course in Nashville, coach Whipple dropped in for a check-in Tuesday late in DiPaolo's round.
“Birdie fuel time,” he said.
“I blame you if I don’t birdie,” DiPaolo responded.
“Just remember, sometimes it takes a few holes to kick in,” Whipple countered.
It was an immediate impact this time, and the low card for the day — girls or boys — earned DiPaolo, a junior, the 2021 Region 6 Golf Tournament title and clinched a state tournament berth. It was DiPaolo’s second region title after a runner-up finish in 2020 as a sophomore and a break-through win in 2019 as a freshman.
“It was interesting today, because my first couple holes I just could not hit my irons and my drives were going everywhere,” said DiPaolo, who led Williamson County by finishing tied for sixth last year at the state tournament. “I mean, I missed a 3-foot putt for par, but I guess I kind of turned it around in the end.”
In regards to the snacks, DiPaolo admitted “it’s definitely something.” There will be more in the future, she added.
The boost helped the Franklin junior close eight strokes in front of Independence’s Piper Davis and Brentwood’s Brooke Brummett on the individual leaderboard. Brummett claimed the runner-up title after a one-hole playoff. Both Davis and Brummett are also making a return to state.
“I’m just excited to make it back to state, and I feel like with the momentum of winning the last few tournaments, I think I can do really well,” DiPaolo said.
The Ravenwood girls are hoping to turn heads at state as well on Oct. 4-5 in Sevierville. The Lady Raptors collected back-to-back team titles in a busy week by closing with a combined 158 Tuesday. Only one team from the region qualifies for the state tournament with the top three individuals not on the winning team for both boys and girls also advancing.
“We just really tried to work together as a team,” Ravenwood senior Emily Nelson said. “This feels great, and it’s awesome to represent the region at state, but we want to just stay focused on our game.”
Nelson shot a 78 to finish fourth overall. Teammate Hannah Walton (80) was two strokes back, and Holly Hake carded an 82. The team won the District 11 title by 18 strokes last week and beat out second place Franklin by 10 Tuesday.
Ravenwood coach Teddy Craig admitted it’s almost abnormal that his girls to play so unselfishly, but they continue to do so.
“They pull for each other so well,” he said. “And it hasn’t been the same top two. … I think it’s how consistent they are that makes them so tough, and that’s special to witness.”
Hume-Fogg finished with a 169, while Page was fourth with a 170 in the girls team standings.
Brentwood’s boys finished three strokes better than Franklin with a 299 to earn the team title and advance.
“We were able to put together some really solid rounds,” Brentwood coach Chris Saunders said. “Franklin, Ravenwood and Page are so talented, so even getting to this point was awesome for us.
“There’s just so much talent in our region, so it always comes down to a few shots and we had some guys pull through.”
Troup Wallace, Bryce Callaway and Nolen Griggs all finished with 74s to pace the Bruins. The trio closed tied for fifth overall.
Page’s Grant Clark earned the low card for the boys tournament, firing a 2-under 70 to earn the region championship and a state berth for the first time.
Similar to DiPaolo — just without the fruit snacks — Clark birdied two of his final three holes. The Patriot junior turned in a 1-over on the front nine but found his groove on the back nine.
“Thirteen really helped me get rolling,” Clark said. “I started making a few there and realized I had a chance.”
Clark was the only region competitor to birdie the par-5 13th.
“You just have to bring your A-game no matter what, because the competition is so tough," he said.
Nolensville’s Luke Beadles (71) and Franklin’s Harrison Akers (72) also advanced to state individually. Akers edged Page’s Chubs Wilds in a one-hole playoff to clinch a spot in the state championships. Three Patriots advanced to the region tournament individually despite the team being edged out by Ravenwood by a stroke in district play to close fourth last week.
“It’s pretty crazy how tight it was” Clark said. “We were so close as a team even before today.”
Beadles said it’s all about the mindset entering the region tournament.
“This is the time that matters, so if you’re here, you have to go out and be the best player you can be,” he said.
The Nolensville sophomore said he really didn’t feel comfortable until the final two holes when he birdied Nos. 17 and 18.
“This feels good to make it to state,” Beadles said. “I’m very stoked about that.”
The state tournament for high schools will be held at Sevierville Golf Club Oct. 4-8 with larger schools competing Oct. 4-5 in the Division I-AA and Division II-AA competitions.
“I think we are all just excited to make it to state and represent the region,” Saunders said. “This feels good, but we will try to get our minds right before state.”
FRANKLIN – Michael Hake had a nightmare of a hole to open the District 12-AAA Golf Tournamen…
2021 Region 6 Golf Tournament at Two Rivers Golf Course in Nashville
1, Ravenwood 158; Franklin 168; Hume-Fogg 16; Page 170.
Individual Results (top 15)
1, Sophia DiPaolo, Franklin, 69; 2, Brooke Brummett, Brentwood, 77 (playoff tie-breaker); 3, Piper Davis, Independence, 77; 4, Emily Nelson, Ravenwood, 78; 5 (tie), Rachel Waters, Hume-Fogg, 80; Scarlett Childs, Page, 80; Hannah Walton, Ravenwood, 80; Isabella McCutchan, Centennial, 80; 9, Holly Hake, Ravenwood, 82; 10 (tie), Claudette Runk, Summit, 86; Chloe Denham, Nolensville, 86; 12, Ansley Johns, Hume-Fogg, 89; 13, Gabriella Diaz, Page, 90; 14, Shelby Buffington, Page, 91; 15, Abby Zupa, Franklin, 99.
1, Brentwood 299; 2, Franklin 302; 3, Ravenwood 306; 4, Valor College Prep 380; 5, Hillsboro 385.
Individual Results (top 15)
1, Grant Clark, Page, 70; 2, Luke Beadles, Nolensville, 71; 3, Harrison Akers, Franklin, 72 (won by playoff); 4, Chubs Wilds, Page, 72; 5, (tie) Troup Wallace, Brentwood, 74; Bryce Callaway, Brentwood, 74; Nolen Griggs, Brentwood 74; Whit Conrad, Independence, 74; 9, (tie) Cade O’Connell, Valor, 75; Will Pinson, Franklin, 75; Michael Hake, Ravenwood, 75; 12, Connor Caparos, Ravenwood, 76; 13 (tie) Cooper Wilcox, Franklin, 77; Sam Johnson, Brentwood, 77; Finn Carteaux, Ravenwood, 77.