Kate Wynja, a senior on the golf team at Sioux Falls Christian in South Dakota, won the Class A state golf meet by several strokes on Tuesday.
Until she realized she actually had not won at all.
As the final scores were being tallied, Wynja realized she had made a terrible mistake. She put herself down for a "4" on the closing hole when she actually made a "5."
She had signed for an incorrect score. By rule, she was disqualified. It cost her the individual title and also cost her team the school's first team title since 2011.
“I knew I needed to tell them,” Wynja told argusleader.com
on Tuesday night. “It was really sad, mostly because I knew what the result would be. I knew that I would be disqualified and it broke my heart for the team. But I knew I couldn’t leave without saying something.”
From the Argus Leader:
Wynja and her coach reported the violation to tournament directors Dan Swartos and Jeff Dvorak. The two did everything they could to find a loophole to lessen the punishment, Swartos said, but the rule was cut-and-dry.
Wynja was disqualified. Medalist honors went to Belle Fourche's Payson Birkeland (159, 17-over). The team championship also went to the Broncs, who posted a total score of 735. Sioux Falls Christian finished second (747).
“I was heartbroken,” said Birkeland, who broke down in tears when she learned Wynja had been disqualified. “You don’t wish that on anyone, so hats off to her for being able to admit her mistake... That’s not how you want to win, but it’s humbling for everyone to learn from that situation.”
And that's just the latest example of why people who play the game are the best.
On January 1, 2016, the USGA and R&A changed the ruling on player disqualifications for signing an incorrect scorecard in certain instances.
Essentially, players avoid disqualification if the incorrect scorecard is the result of penalty strokes they didn't know about when they finished their rounds.
That wasn't the case for Wynja.
Players still face disqualification if they sign for a lower score on a hole, which happened with Wynja.
Here is the complete context of Rule 6-6d:
d. Wrong Score for Hole
The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card. If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified. If he returns a score for any hole higher than actually taken, the score as returned stands.
Exception: If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule and an additional penalty of two strokes for each hole at which the competitor has committed a breach of Rule 6-6d. This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.