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Scoring errors shake up outcomes

by JEFF KRUPSAW SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | October 9, 2019 at 2:29 a.m.

CABOT -- Luke Hanson of Maumelle Charter only could shake his head and shrug his shoulders when asked about the turn of events that lifted him to medalist honors and his teammates to the Class 2A boys state golf championship.

Hanson, along with Coach Ken Holland, acknowledged that the Falcons backed into the championship trophy at Greystone Country Club.

"Yeah, we did," Hanson said. "A little bit."

"A lot of things happened," Holland said.

Hanson, a freshman, shot an 11-over 83 on the 5,984-yard, par-72 layout, and ended up being medalist by five shots over Poyen's Taylor Melton and Spring Hill's Colby Light.

All three qualified for the boys Overall tournament in two weeks at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.

But that came about after the disqualifications of two other players -- Melbourne's Roby Cooper and Conway St. Joseph's Gus Longing -- who turned in scorecards that didn't add up when it reached the official scoring area.

"There's no way around it," said Dustin Ralston, Greystone's golf professional and tournament director. "I hate it, I absolutely hate it for the kid. He signed for a score lower than he had. That's a basic golf rule."

The disqualifications had a domino effect of knocking Melbourne from first to fifth in the team standings, and defending champion Conway St. Joseph from a tie for first to third.

The disqualification of Cooper occurred before Longing because he turned in his card before Longing.

Holland had compassion for the two boys and their teams, but he said keeping track of the score is one of the basic tenets of the game.

"These boys know to keep their scores right, do the right things," Holland said. "Usually, by now, they should know what to do and keep the score right."

Holland echoed the sentiments of several other coaches and parents that there should have been score monitors with each group, but Ralston said he told the coaches beforehand in the pre-tournament meeting that the coaches would serve as monitors since there were more coaches than groups.

"The coaches can't be everywhere at the same time," Holland said. "With four people [playing], we're constantly moving around. I wish they would have the monitors."

Hanson not only jumped over two disqualified players, but he defeated his older brother and teammate Cade Hanson, who earned medalist honors last year at Burns Park Golf Course in North Little.

"Kinda bittersweet," Luke Hanson said, "for him."

Luke Hanson said he learned a valuable lesson about checking and rechecking the scorecard before turning it in.

"I play lots of tournaments," he said. "I make sure to check it."

Ralston said it's imperative for players to keep their score along with the player in their group that is also keeping their score, and double-check it in the end.

Ralston said there is a place on the scorecard to peel off a perforated strip and then use it to verify.

Roby Cooper and his group, which included Tim Coney of Conway St. Joseph and Nathan Higgins of Bay, spent about five minutes going over their scores after walking off the par-5 18th green.

Cooper's mother, Holly, was right there watching.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "That you go over all the holes. Heartbreaking."

Sports on 10/09/2019

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