MANCHESTER – For the first time in school history, the boys state golf championship trophy is headed to Franklin High School.
The Rebel boys mirrored their opening round combined score of 301 despite a chilly, windy day at WillowBrook Golf Course Wednesday.
“It’s just been a special year for us and you know, I really can’t describe the feeling, it’s just incredible,” said Franklin senior Jackson Wilcox, who led the Rebels with a 1-over 73 on the second day of the TSSAA Large Schools State Golf Championships. “This was my first time in the state tournament. It was definitely special.”
Wilcox carded a 1-under 71 Tuesday in the first round. He closed tied for fourth overall even at 144 over the two days along with Tarun Hoskere of Science Hill. Jaden Zimmer of Crockett County, who was paired with Wilcox, closed 2-under 70 for the second day in a row. He finished a stoke ahead of Jon Wes Lovelace of Volunteer and two stokes ahead of Tennessee’s Jack Tickle, who finished third.
“Personally, I feel like I struggled today, but I scrambled around the greens and put together a decent round and the rest of the team did the same so we could come on top,” Wilcox said, who had three birdies including the par 3 No. 3 where he double bogeyed Tuesday.
⛳️STATE CHAMPS ⛳️ pic.twitter.com/P6mR0vXu6O— The Rebellion (@fhsrebellion) October 16, 2019
Fellow Rebel senior John Morris Jr. tied Zimmer for the lead Wednesday after opening 3-under on the first nine holes with four birdies. He closed sixth overall.
“I had a a lot of momentum going early,” Morris Jr. said. “On the back nine, I had some good shots and got on a lot of greens, but didn’t really have anything drop, so that’s unfortunate, but that is how golf goes.
“I’m pretty happy with how I played, especially with how tough the conditions were, and to get the team title is pretty awesome since its my last year.”
Eli Cleveland (+7) was 22nd for Franklin, while Cooper Wilcox sat just a stroke back with a two-day total of 157. Brentwood’s William Griggs, the Region 6 champion, closed tied for 10th. He shaved six strokes off his 5-over 77 on Tuesday to work his way up the standings. Ravenwood’s Michael Hake closed tied for 15th.
Harrison Akers of Franklin was 49th, shaving four strokes off his Tuesday showing.
Franklin coach Jon Whipple was all smiles as the second round came to a close. The Rebels beat out team runner-up Science Hill by nine strokes for the win after entering the final round tied.
“I felt like our guys really focused on the job they wanted to do and went out and did it,” Whipple said. “They deserve all this credit. They work hard and I’m just super proud of them.”
On the girls’ side, Ravenwood junior Shelly Jang was the top Williamson County finisher, tying Lexanne Halama of Farragut for third with a 3-over 147 two-day total. Jang fired a 1-over 73 Wednesday to better her Tuesday performance by a stroke. The junior produced four birdies and had a chance to birdie No. 17, but ended up with a bogey instead.
“I kind of struggled to stay even, I think,” Jang said. “It was a bit wet and also chilly at first and then after it warmed up, the wind picked up … it was tough.
“It was an honor to be here again, though and see what I can improve on for next year.”
Whipple said his Lady Rebels definitely felt the effects of the rugged weather and wet course conditions early Wednesday. Franklin finished fourth in the team standings on the girls’ side.
“It was a tough day out there,” he said. “I’m just proud of how they grinded through it.”
Senior Isabella Griggs led Franklin with a 14th place finish, shooting a 7-over 79 Wednesday to close +11 over the two days. Teammate Sophia Dipaolo entered the final round tied for fourth, but lost ground battling the conditions to finish 17th.
Brentwood’s Gigi Powers was tied for 20th, while Taylor Qualls of Independence was 24th. Both also felt the effects from the conditions and lost multiple strokes from Tuesday’s scores.
Mary Sheffield Akers of Franklin closed out the county finishers (tied for 38th).