There will be no repeat champions at the 92nd annual Tennessean/Metro Parks Schooldays Golf Tournament.
Hendersonville’s Bryce Lewis made sure of that.
“I had nothing to lose,” said Lewis, a rising junior at Hendersonville and two-time TSSAA state tournament qualifier.
After securing a come-from-behind 1-up win over Merrol Hyde’s Jonathan Caldwell on Wednesday morning, Lewis pulled off an improbable 2-and-1 quarterfinal win over defending champion Cooper Sears, a rising senior at Mt. Juliet.
“He was supposed to beat me,” said Lewis, who had three birdies and no bogeys in the 17-hole victory. “I just thought I’d go out there, give it my all and I might win, and if I don’t then I don’t.
“I didn’t really feel much pressure — not as much as the first match when I was one down with two to go.”
Lewis’ father, Trey, is one of the state’s top amateur golfers.
Sears, who shot 63 in Tuesday’s qualifying round, claimed a 5-and-4 second-round win over Father Ryan’s Will Brook, but the 17-year-old Vanderbilt commitment’s inability to sink putts ultimately did him in.
“I was hitting the ball great and giving myself great birdie opportunities,” Sears said. “I just couldn’t make putts.”
Schooldays golf tournament
Lewis will take on Summit’s Charlie Linde — a 1 up winner in 19 holes over Macon County’s Landon Polston — in Thursday’s 7 a.m. semifinal. Lipscomb Academy’s Paul Swindell and Beech’s Michael Barnard will square off in the 7:08 a.m. semifinal.
Ashley Gilliam, 14, rolled into the girls championship match with convincing victories over Cookeville’s Viola Greenwood (7-and-6) and Ravenwood’s Ann Catherine Blackburn (8-and-6).
“I was putting really good,” said Gilliam, a Mississippi State commitment who had a 66 in qualifying on Tuesday. “I didn’t miss many putts and didn’t make many mistakes, and when I did I came back with birdies.”
Gilliam’s mother, Jennifer Hailey (1989-91), is one of just two girls to win three straight Schooldays titles.
Gilliam will face Angelina Chan in Thursday’s 9:30 a.m. championship.
“Both of my opponents were very stubborn,” said Chan, who played 35 holes on Wednesday compared to Gilliam’s 24. “Toward the end it was quite difficult because I played so many holes.”
Chan, a rising sophomore at Franklin Road Academy and the reigning TSSAA Division II-A champion, defeated Gilliam’s sister, Coffee County’s Savannah Quick, 1-up and Rossview’s Caroline Caudill 2-and-1.
“I was more like a zombie at the end,” Chan added.