A championship celebration transformed into a test of character for a Sioux Falls Christian senior at the state “A” golf tournament.
Kate Wynja won the individual title on Tuesday, but signed an incorrect scorecard. She caught the mistake within minutes of leaving the official scoring area and met with tournament officials, but the simple, yet significant error cost Wynja a second straight championship. She was disqualified.
After tapping in for a bogey five on the final hole of the class “A” golf championship, Sioux Falls Christian standout Kate Wynja was all smiles.
“I saw my coach and he was crying. Right in that moment I started crying because I had been with him since seventh grade and he’s had such a huge impact on my life, so I saw him crying and I just lost it,” Sioux Falls Christian senior Kate Wynja said.
She had won the individual title by five strokes, but tears of joy would soon turn to heartbreak, as Wynja signed for a four, not five, on the 18th hole and was disqualified.
“The numbers all matched up, nothing was wrong, I signed the card, and then I got out there and I was looking back and saw my score and I was like that’s wrong. I was looking at my own card and was like that’s wrong. I had a five on that last hole. I did not have a four. I grabbed my coach and yeah, it was a tough thing to realize, but I was like that’s wrong,” Wynia said.
The mistake actually went unnoticed until Wynja self-reported the scorecard error.
“I’m going to be honest because the Holy Spirit definitely pushes you, and I felt it in my heart and I knew that I couldn’t leave there without saying anything because that’s just not who I am,” Wynia said.
The disqualification also cost Sioux Falls Christian the team championship, and that’s what hurts Wynja most.
“The individual portion, I feel like I should be more upset than I am, but I’m like I know what happened. It was an honest mistake. It is my fault I put that down, but mostly for the team. I was heartbroken, and for my coach,” Wynja said.
A popular player on the course, Wynja has experienced an outpouring of support, including a text from her sister, who was unable to attend the tournament.
“The first text that I’ve gotten from her is like, ‘hey, don’t forget us little people out there’. It’s just good to have my family by my side when there is so much support and love coming from people I don’t know. It’s nice to know that my family is still there supporting me too,” Wynja said.
Wynja will continue her golf career this fall at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.