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Golf team shakes off controversial rules violation to win state title

Jonathan Wall
Prep Rally

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Eagle High's golf team. — Idaho Statesman

The Eagle (Idaho) High School boys golf team had aspirations of winning a fourth state title in five year. But during the second day of the state tournament, their dreams came crashing down when it was announced early in the round that their No. 1 golfer, Colby Dean, had been disqualified for using a rangefinder during tournament play.

As the Idaho Statesman reported, due to the rules violation, Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) High should have captured the state title by a single shot over Eagle, who finished the tournament with the minimum four golfers. At least that's what the team thought.

In a bizarre move that's making headlines across the state of Idaho, the Idaho High School Activities Association decided to reverse its own decision, after noticing that the penalty for using a rangefinder during tournament play was a two-stroke penalty; not disqualification.

But there was a problem: The tournament had already ended when they came to their decision, leaving tournament officials with the unenviable task of informing Coeur d'Alene that they, in fact, weren't officially state champions just yet.

Eagle's Colby Dean was allowed to go back out and finish the final 11 holes by himself, as a gallery watched his every move. Even with the two-stroke penalty, Dean managed to fire a 2-over 72 that, you guessed it, allowed Eagle to win the state title by eight shots over Coeur d'Alene.

Of course, Coeur d'Alene didn't appreciate the ruling going in Eagle's favor. As the Coeur d'Alene Press noted, the school plans to lodged a complaint with the Idaho High School Activities Association.

"So it's another example where Idaho doesn't know the rules of golf, and should just let the USGA govern the rules of golf," Coeur d'Alene coach Bryan Duncan told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "What's unfortunate is they decided to cover up a screwup with another screwup by putting him back out on the course."

Look, I have no problem with tournament officials trying to do the right thing, but if the kid was pulled off the course with 12 holes to play in his round, I'd like to know why it took them so long to make the decision.

You can't make a decision like this after the tournament is over and expect people to go along with the ruling. It doesn't work that way.

"It's insane," Duncan said of the rules decision. "We had won the tournament."

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