Depending on your perspective, the decision to name the individual winner of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference stroke-play championship tournament on Thursday was either controversial or par for the course.
In essence, it was determined by a rules committee — after a prolonged discussion and inspection of the course — that eventual runner-up, Loyola Blakefield junior Braden Decapite, should be assessed a two-stroke penalty for teeing off outside the tee box area on the 16th hole at the Eagle’s Nest Country Club in Phoenix.
The infraction cost Decapite the individual crown by one stroke to St. Paul’s junior Matthew Guy.
While there was some talk of a sudden-death playoff round being a way to determine the champion, that plan never came to fruition.
Unsurprisingly, longtime St. Paul’s coach Rick Collins said that he felt there was no controversy regarding the outcome of the individual tally.
”Somebody, basically, violated the rules and the two players that were playing with him pointed it out,” Collins said. “And the committee — and I was not part of the committee — made the decision on how to proceed.”
On the other hand, Guy said that he did think the decision was controversial, despite it working to his advantage.
”Braden Decapite, who received the penalty, played better golf than me today and he played better than me yesterday,” Guy said. “But I have to play by the rules of golf. I think it was reasonable that I would make the call-out that there was a penalty, so, yes, I think it was controversial.”
As far as playing, Guy was on-point for most of the day, carding a 71 to join teammates Oliver Clark (5th place), Tommy Sharps (6th), Colin Vineberg (8th) and Adler Dodson to take the team title with a record-low 586 strokes over the two-day event. The Dons (596) and Gilman (601) followed the leaders.
”Yesterday I had trouble with my driver,” Guy said. “But today I kind of fixed that. I don’t know the exact number, but I think I hit 15 out of 18 greens. I only had one three-putt. Just making putts when I need to and hitting greens. I kind of figured it out from there.”
Mount St. Joseph’s Aiden Tudor and Gilman’s Bennett Epenshade tied Decapite for second place ahead of Clark and Sharps. Loyola’s Patrick Eskildsen finished one spot ahead of Calvert Hall’s Caleb Itzoe.
Gilman’s Charlie Fenwick and Loyola’s Mason Coleman tied for 10th place.
Calvert Hall coach Drew Forrester said that it was a shame that the winner was determined by a rules infraction.
”It’s a tough way to win and a tough way to lose,” he said. “The quality of golf played today demanded better than that.”