A pair of youngsters claimed individual titles Thursday at the Two Rivers Golf Course in Nashville, but it was a disqualification that rocked the Region 6 golf tournament.
The Ravenwood boys held a three-stroke lead and were primed to follow up their District 12 title win as the day came to a close, but Raptor junior Greyson Hurst was disqualified upon reporting his final scores for an infraction on hole No. 5.
Per the DQ, Hurst’s one-under-par was erased from the team scores and the next Raptor up, who finished more than 15 strokes back, took Hurst’s place. The Ravenwood boys finished with a 312 team score instead and were denied a team title, while Hurst's season came to a controversial close.
“It could have gone either way,” Hurst said calmly afterward. “It’s OK, really. I’ll be back next year.”
His coach Teddy Craig took a much different tone.
“It’s a farce,” Craig said bluntly. “This is just very, very disappointing. We won’t stop here and we have already contacted TSSAA about the ruling.
“Shame on the other coaches for letting this ruling stand.”
So, what exactly happened?
According to tournament officials, Hurst hit a ball early in the day at No. 5, a 404-yard par 4. That first ball from the tee sailed somewhere into the left rough and couldn’t be found. A provisional ball was then teed off and as the group walked up the fairway, the second ball also couldn’t be found.
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Officials admitted to not knowing exactly how long the first ball and second ball were searched for, but did indicate a second group behind Hurst’s was already in the fairway. Per TSSAA rules, which follows USGA guidelines, three minutes are allowed to find a ball. Depending on who’s asked – parents, players or coaches – the search spanned as little as three minutes and as many as 15.
As Hurst was preparing to use a third ball to simply continue play, his first ball was located by a spectator on the left fairway. And that’s where a true violation, per tournament officials, occurred. Hurst continued play with the found ball.
Somewhere in this scattered timeframe, Hurst was contacted by a tournament official and ways forward were discussed, and this move wasn’t one of them. Rather than try to correct the issue or even play both a provisional and found ball for the hole, which is one way to move forward per USGA rules, play continued with that first ball and the group played the hole and moved on.
“At the end of the day, that first shot was live,” Craig said. “They’re going to speculate this time frame and decide to disqualify him. I just find that disappointing, especially at this level of high school sports.
“If my kid was breaking a rule blatantly, I’m all for enforcing it and teaching these kids valuable lessons, but this isn’t one of those situations.”
The Franklin boys slid into first place in the team standings (299) and earned a state berth with the adjustment. The Lady Rebels also captured the team crown, beating out Ravenwood by 11 strokes for the region title.
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“We are in that time where it’s like the NCAA Tournament, you have to survive and advance,” Franklin coach Jon Whipple said. “I thought we finished strong in districts and that kind of carried over.”
Franklin freshman Sophia Dipaolo clinched the region championship on the girls’ side, carding a 72 to finish even. Ravenwood’s Shelly Jang finished three strokes back, along with Taylor Qualls of Independence – all three earned state tournament berths.
“I thought everything was kind of working, I mean, I had a couple of bad shots, but I was able to make up for them with my birdies,” said Dipaolo, who birdied four holes. “This is nice. As a freshman, it’s exciting.”
Brentwood sophomore William (Nolan) Griggs clinched the individual title on the boys’ side. Griggs finished with a two-under 70.
“I just went out there and tried to calm my nerves and make some putts,” said Griggs, who picked up five birdies.
After bouncing across the cart path, he bogeyed No. 10, but saved crucial strokes on a punch out through trees to the green.
John Morris Jr. of Franklin finished second with a one-under 71. The senior was two-under after the first nine holes for a stroke lead on Griggs. He was even on the back-nine, but settled for a bogey on No. 18 after missing a birdie on No. 17 when his second putt lipped out.
Ravenwood’s Michael Hake (72) grabbed the third spot to state on the boys’ side, winning a playoff that featured four players who finished even.
The state tournament for large schools begins Oct. 15-16 at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester.
Region 6 Golf Tournament Oct. 3, 2019
at Two Rivers Golf Course
1, Franklin, 155; 2, Ravenwood, 166; 3, Independence, 174; 4, Hume-Fogg, 202; 5, Cane Ridge, 327.
Individual (Top 10)
1, Sophia Dipaola, Franklin, 72 (even); 2, Shelly Jang, Ravenwood, 75 (+3); 3 (tie), Taylor Qualls, Independence, 78 (+6); Gigi Powers, Brentwood, 78 (+6); 5, Claudette Runk, Summit, 82 (+10); 6, Isabella Griggs, Franklin, 83 (+11); 7, Karagan Myers, Summit, 85 (+13); 8, Ansley Johns, Hume-Fogg, 90 (+18); 9 (tie), Emily Nelson, Ravenwood, 91 (+19); Hannah Walton, Ravenwood, 91 (+19).
1, Franklin, 299; 2, Brentwood, 300; 3, Ravenwood, 312; 4, Glencliff, 481; 5, MLK, 414; 6, Overton, 422.
Individual (Top 10)
1, William (Nolan) Griggs, Brentwood, 70 (-2); 2, John (Jack) Morris Jr., Franklin, 71 (-1); 3 (tie), Michael Hake, Ravenwood, 72 (even); Jackson Wilcox, Franklin, 72 (even); Ty Beasley, Dickson County, 72 (even); Cameron Tankersley, Dickson County, 72 (even); 7 (tie), Collier Thompson, Ravenwood, 73 (+1); Jacob Wilson, Page, 73 (+1); 9, Bryce Callaway, Brentwood, 74 (+2); 10, Joshua Phillips, Centennial, 75 (+3).