Scoring mishap costs golf Hornets, Gillespie

Would-be top-5 finish for CHS player, another leads to DQ

As reported to C-T

ST. JOSEPH — What would have been career highlight for a Chillicothe High School senior golfer went by the wayside Monday in the rain-delayed Midland Empire Conference Championships at Fairview Golf Course.

Playing in a foursome of No. 1 players for their respective squads, somehow Colby Gillespie of CHS and Kansas City: St. Pius X’s JD Dintino apparently inadvertently had incorrect scores on one or more holes entered on their scorecards (golfers traditionally enter the hole-by-hole scores of another member of the group) and signed them without verifying their accuracy, Chillicothe coach Jim Wheeler reports.

As a result, when the mistakes were realized after signing, by rule, Gillespie and Dintino were disqualified for signing incorrect cards, thus squandering the round of 80 which Gillespie actually shot (he signed his card listing a 79) and which would have tied him for fourth place. For Dintino, it meant wasting the actual 76 he shot (his card was signed with a score of 70).

As a result, St. Pius X placed fifth instead of second and Chillicothe seventh in the team standings of the 8-teams tournament, which, as expected, St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond won handily with a 315.

Had not the disqualification of the Hornet occurred, CHS would have had a low-4 team score of 370 instead of the 404 which goes in the books. Had Dintino still failed to note the mistakes on his, that 370 would have put Chillicothe fourth, just ahead of SPX’s amended 373.

If the errors had not occurred or been realized before the players signed them, SPX would have shot a 348, still far back of Bishop LeBlond, but 11 shots ahead of actual runnerup Maryville. In that case, CHS’ 370 would have had it fifth.

“While the result is disappointing, it is fair,” commented Wheeler. “The (tournament) committee followed the correct procedures and applied the rules correctly.”

The foul-up, while uncommon, is not unheard of, even in the professional ranks and on the grandest stages of the sport.

Most infamous of such instances is the 1968 Masters in which South American Roberto De Vicenzo signed his final-round scorecard (kept by playing partner Tommie Aaron) without making sure of its accuracy.

It mistakenly listed De Vicenzo’s score on the second-to-last hole as a par, rather than the birdie he actually made. Once he signed it, being that it was an error raising his score, the round still stood as listed, but the extra erroneous stroke meant De Vicenzo’s final total for the tournament was one stroke higher than Bob Goalby’s, making Goalby officially the winner by a stroke, even though he and De Vicenzo should have been headed to a playoff.

The unfortunate circumstances at the end reflected an off-kilter day all around.

Wheeler noted play was underway for only 15 minutes when rain forced a halt before some players had even begun. A delay of about 1:45 followed before, with some rain still falling, the players returned to competition.

The precipitation finally ended for good shortly after noon, the Hornets coach states.

As for the Chillicothe rounds that counted, only one proved particularly satisfying, compared to what the CHS quintet normally shoots.

Freshman James Mathew earned a tie for ninth place with a 44-45–89, several strokes below his 18-holes average. While not reported as such by Wheeler, it is believed that earns Mathew some level of all-conference status.

He turned out to be the only Hornet with a counting score below 95. Senior Spencer Shira came in on that number, but freshman Jackson Trout had his toughest day of the season with a 106 and senior Dalton Ripley could not find his usually-steady game and posted a 114, a round which otherwise would have been omitted in favor of Gillespie’s.

The individual conference champion, unsurprisingly, was from Bishop LeBlond, which actually swept the top three spots, thanks to Dintino’s misfortune.

Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was Jeffery Johnston, the No. 1 player in their lineup, with a 41-34–75.

Three strokes back was Sam Schoeberl, BLHS’ No. 4 player, with a 78 and Pat Johnston, No. 3 in the host team’s lineup, was third with an 80 that matched Gillespie’s true total.

The golf Hornets’ most-recent previous action had been last Thursday, when they won the 9-teams Savannah Invitational.

At Savannah, a 1-2 finish by Shira and Trout and Ripley’s career-low round carried the Hornets to their second tournament championship of 2021.

Meshed with Mathew’s 47-44–91 that was fourth-best overall, Chillicothe enjoyed a runaway win in the team competition. Its low-4 score of 354 was 34 shots clear of the runnerup host Savages.

Shira was a tournament medalist for the first time, pacing the Savannah Invitational with a 43-41–84 on the par-71 Duncan Hills Golf Course. He finished a pair of strokes ahead of ninth grade teammate Trout, who went 42-44–86. The freshman matched the best score in his young career (he’d had a 9-holes round of 43 at home against Lawson April 6).

Firing a clear-cut career best was senior Ripley.

Having broken 100 in an 18-holes tournament for the first time only three events earlier when he shot a 99 at Cameron, the third-year varsity player sharply lowered that with a 48-45–93. The score left him tied for seventh overall among about three dozen varsity players.

Counterintuitively, Chillicothe registered the sizable win over the 7-schools field – about half and half large and small schools – even with the No. 1 player on coach Jim Wheeler’s lineup card, Gillespie, posting an uncharacteristic 102.

Chillicothe had its final home outing of 2021, weather permitting, yesterday with a dual match against Trenton. Next Monday, they’ll be back at the Fairview course in St. Joseph for the state-qualifying Class 3 district tournament.