Eugene (Ore.) Churchill High girls golfer Caroline Inglis was on the cusp of history. After winning the Oregon Scholastic Activities Association Class 5A state tournament during each of her first three years, Inglis finished the final round of the 2012 state tournament with a 3-under 69, a score that completed a dominant performance that was nine shots better than anyone else in the tournament.
All Inglis had to do to ensure history would be made was sign her scorecard. As it turns out, that's precisely what got her in trouble.
As reported by the Portland Oregonian, Inglis' scorecard actually credited her with a 4-under 68 in the final round, one shot better than Inglis' actual score. The error was the result of Inglis' playing partner hastily crediting the Churchill senior with a par on the 18th hole when she actually scored a bogey, but by the time Inglis noticed her partner's mistake, she had already signed her scorecard.
That gave OSAA officials no choice but to disqualify their rightful champion, because the state championship tournament was played under official USGA rules which call for any players signing inaccurate scorecards to be DQ'd.
Inglis' disqualification thwarted what would have been rare history in the Pacific Northwest. Had Inglis' victory been confirmed, she would have become the first golfer of either sex to win four consecutive state titles. Ironically, the winner who took Inglis' place could achieve just such a feat now; Bend (Ore.) Summit High freshman Madison Odiorne was given state champion honors following Inglis' DQ.
"It doesn't really feel like a win, because I know Caroline really won the whole thing," Odiorne told the Oregonian.
Odiorne wasn't the only person who felt for Inglis' stunning loss. Wilsonville (Ore.) High senior Juhee Lee, who finished as the runner-up to Inglis in all three of the seniors' previous state tournaments, also called the incident "unfortunate."
Those sentiments probably do little to comfort Inglis, who could at least take solace in knowing that she'll get a chance at even greater glory ahead at the University of Oregon, where she has signed to compete in golf.
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