As Brett Barry and Joey Bradley wrapped up the final hole of the TranSouth Athletic Conference golf tournament last week, the rivals and good friends realized their day wasn’t over.
But it could have been.
Both carded a three-round total of 213 for a three-under par and were 11 strokes ahead of the next golfer. A sudden-death playoff would determine the champion.
So after playing the previous 54 holes together, the two trotted back out to the 18th hole at Canebrake Country Club in Athens, Ala. Bradley, a senior at Trevecca Nazarene, saved par to finish one stroke ahead of Barry, a junior at Union University, and atop the 42-golfer field with the best two-day score.
The championship, however, belonged to Barry. Bradley was ineligible to hoist the trophy.
When Trevecca applied for membership into NCAA Division II for the second time last June — it was accepted shortly thereafter — the Trojans were declared ineligible for NAIA postseason play and athletic awards for the 2011-12 season. The TranSouth Conference followed suit, backing the decision on the league level.
The conference’s golf coaches allowed Trevecca compete in the postseason tournament but the Trojans were not eligible for individual medalist honors or team championships.
“Obviously we didn’t have to play that off but both us being the competitors we are and being the guy that Brett is, neither one of us wanted to leave there not knowing who the winner was,” Bradley said. “He walked up to me after they gave out the awards and he handed it to me and told me, ‘It was mine. I deserved it.’ That meant a lot to me.”
In the TranSouth women’s golf record books, Cumberland freshman Katie Legge is the 2012 tournament champion. She finished 36 holes in 158 strokes, better than the 24 other golfers.
Trevecca senior Ashley Scism finished with a 157, which would have been her third TranSouth tournament championship. But when the all-tournament awards were handed out and Legge received the plaque for low medalist, she wanted company. She asked Scism to join her for the all-tournament team photo and attempted to hand the plaque over to Scism.
“I teared up,” said Scism, who declined to take the award away from Legge. “It was a really special moment for me to go up there and actually hold the trophy. ... She is just an incredible person and it was a really special moment for me to get to spend that time and moment with her.”
Legge, a native of Portland, Tenn., remembers playing her first U.S. Junior Golf tournament at the age of 12 and being paired up with the older Scism, who provided a calming and reassuring presence.
“She was so sweet to me,” Legge said. “I’ve known her since then and we’ve always been good friends. I knew this was her last [college] tournament ever. I knew this was big for her. For her to actually shoot the low score I knew that was the right thing to do. I didn’t feel right taking the award and not having her come up there with me. I knew that would be special to her.”
The moments of sportsmanship were special for Bradley and Scism and resonated with the coaches around them, especially Trevecca women’s coach Michael Johnson.
“It is what you would hope in your wildest dreams that would occur that student-athletes would recognize the efforts of one another,” Johnson said. “It was a very selfless thing that both of those young people did. It touches me deeply.”
During Bradley’s four-year career, the Hickman County product and Austin Peay State transfer won a handful of tournaments — but never with his father on hand.
That was until last week.
“For Brett to do that and my dad to see me — me and my dad got pictures afterwards with the trophy — that meant a lot to me,” Bradley said. “And Brett knew that and I made sure to thank him. It was a great experience. I don’t think it could have happened any better.”
While Bradley hopes to pursue a professional career and attend the PGA Tour’s Q-School, Scism’s competitive golfing days most likely are behind her. The Donelson Christian Academy product graduates on Saturday after spending the last two years in nursing school through Belmont. Trevecca is a member of the Partners in Nursing Consortium at Belmont.
In addition to pursuing a nursing degree, Scism also got married two years ago to former Trevecca golfer and current assistant coach Will Scism.
Even with a heavy workload, she put together one of the most decorated careers in Trevecca history. She holds several school records, including total wins, and was named the TranSouth freshman of the year in 2009 in addition to player of the year. She also earned player of the year accolades in 2011 and Johnson said she would have won it again this year if she was eligible.
Instead, Legge was named the freshman and player of the year, which pleased Scism.
Trevecca plans to present Scism with a special plaque commemorating her 2012 TranSouth win.
“If not, that’s OK,” she said. “I don’t need necessarily a trophy to remember that moment.”