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Marshall golfer was headed back to state, then did 'the right thing'

05/31/2017, 6:04pm CDT
By Paul Klauda, Star Tribune

After finishing her final round in the section tournament, junior Kaylee Gossen self-reported a scoring error that disqualified her from advancing to the state tournament.


Kaylee Gossen, a junior on the Marshall girls' golf team.

Her round was over and Kaylee Gossen of Marshall appeared a lock to get back to the high school golf state tournament.

After a first round score of 86 last week put her in fifth place among individuals at the Class 2A, Section 3 tournament in Buffalo Lake , Gossen did even better on Tuesday. She turned in an 82, for a team-low performance good enough for a return to Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan on June 13 for the second consecutive year, and hopefully a better finish.

That is, until she started to re-think what happened on hole No. 16 at Oakdale Golf Course.

“I played the hole in my head about 500 times yesterday,’’ Gossen, a junior in her third year on Marshall’s varsity, said Wednesday afternoon.

After finishing the par-4 hole, Gossen told her playing partners from Morris and New Ulm that she got a double-bogey six. They agreed. Gossen then recovered with a par on 17 and finished with a bogey on 18.

When the trio of golfers sat down afterward and signed their scorecards, Gossen’s 82 was the best of any Marshall player. With scores posted by her and teammate Ana Schwarz, their team was on the bubble for qualifying for state as well.

“Kaylee’s a really smart golfer, really on top of things,’’ said Gretchen Flynn, the Marshall girls’ golf coach. “You’d never assume her score is not right.’’

After everyone had completed play, Gossen met up with Flynn and her parents, who had followed her around the course. Flynn, admittedly unsure of her totals, had Gossen at 81. Mom and dad, who watched their daughter at a distance during the round, thought she had an 83. Kaylee’s card said 82. When she compared it hole-by-hole with her parents’ scorecard, they differed on just one hole.

No. 16.

They had her taking a triple-bogey seven.

When Kaylee thought back and went over the hole shot by shot, she realized, as she grew mad at herself, that they were right.

“I wasn’t feeling good about it,’’ Gossen said.

She talked to Flynn, and together they consulted with tournament officials. A call was made to the Minnesota State High School League.

“They came back and said make sure it’s right,’’ Gossen said. “I told them I’m sure it’s supposed to be a seven.’’

With that, she was disqualified. Her team, within a few strokes of a team qualifying spot, fell further back without Gossen’s score.

“I realized I needed to do the right thing, losing my shot at going to state,’’ Gossen said. “I knew walking in there — I started tearing up. I knew I was going to be disqualified, but it was the right thing to do.’’

Said her coach, “I don’t have words to express how proud I am of her. She could have left there and nobody would have known the difference but her.’’

Gossen, who has played golf since the seventh grade, said she “slept good’’ Tuesday night and spent Wednesday at school fielding lots of questions from teachers and classmates. A few wondered if they could have done what she did to self-report a mistake.

She also was back on the course, with a summer of golfing ahead. She hopes for another chance to reach the state tournament next season, but what happened this week has put things in a new perspective.

“Integrity goes a lot (further) than state,’’ she said. “State is a great experience, but I’d rather be known for something much more.’’

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