We've brought you plenty of stories of noble, honest golf efforts in recent months, including last week's tale of a college golfer who deliberately shanked a shot to allow his competitor to win, so it's only fair we tell you a story that didn't turn out quite so well.
Annie Brophy, a senior golfer at Notre Dame playing in Saturday's NCAA Central Regional, busted out of the gate at the difficult Otter Creek Golf Course in Indiana with an astonishing 30 on the front nine, including five birdies and an eagle.
Well, at least it would have been amazing -- had it actually happened. Turns out that while Brophy was keeping an accurate score on her own card, she was flat-out making up scores for volunteers to post as she went along. You know, just like the rest of us do when we're playing with family.
Problem is, Brophy wasn't playing with family; she was in a multi-team tournament. And little did she know, her apparent low score was helping to keep the Irish alive in the tournament. NCAA rules officials caught up with Brophy on the 11th hole to keep an eye on her -- and what they saw confirmed their suspicions that something freaky was going on.
Brophy, meanwhile, sent the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction on the back nine, reporting scores of a quadruple bogey, a triple bogey and a bogey on holes 10 to 12. In other words, she apparently went from a pro-caliber player to a weekend duffer right after the turn.
After just a couple more holes, the NCAA had had enough. They caught her on the 14th hole and yanked her off the course, disqualifying her for unsportsmanlike conduct. Nancy Cross, chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Committee, indicated that she believed Brophy simply was having a little fun, and had no idea of the effect her number-jumbling was having on the rest of the field.
But in fact, the impact was significant, given how tightly bunched the teams had been. Cross had asked three teams -- Florida State, Kent State and Oregon -- to remain at the course in case Notre Dame played well enough to force a playoff for the eighth spot. As it turned out, without Brophy's numbers magic, the Irish finished 17th.
Brophy, for her part, was both contrite and embarrassed. "It probably wasn't my best idea," she told Golfweek Monday. "I'm sorry for everything that happened. ... I had no idea my individual score would mess so much with team scores."
Brophy will get lambasted for this, no doubt, but that'd be unfair. This was a dumb mistake at the wrong time, sure. But if all of our dumb college mistakes were reported in the national sporting media, well -- many of us would have to keep our parents away from the computer forever, that's for sure.
Oh, and Brophy graduates from college next weekend. Here's hoping Notre Dame added up her credit hours correctly.
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