The Hugoton Invitational ended in a bit of controversy as an Apple Watch disqualified a Garden City golfer, which ultimately dropped the Buffaloes from second to third place Thursday night at the Hugoton Forewinds Municipal golf course.
The Syracuse Bulldogs ended up winning the tournament with a score of 186, four strokes ahead of the second place team, Colby Eagles. Riley Cook of Stanton County won the tournament with a score of 36.
Senior golfer, Elena Lemke was disqualified after an opposing player notified a judge that the Buffalo golfer had on a smart watch. Smart watches were just recently banned from the course by KSHSAA, earlier this year. From a press release dated August 13, KSHSAA stated, “Smartwatches will not be allowed unless they only measure distance via GPS. If they perform any other functions they will not be permitted.”
The disqualification removed Lemke’s score of 42, which would have placed her tied for fourth place. Garden City’s overall score then was increased to 206, which dropped them from second place to third. The Buffs' top finisher was junior Alyssa McMillen, who finished in third place with a score of 41.
“The watch was brought to the attention of the judges after all the scores were in, and after they had determined our finish,” head golf coach Trent Specht said. “It was a player from a different team — a player that wasn't even on the same group as Elena.”
Specht is not letting the disqualification of his golfer get in the way of what he thought was a good performance, though.
“The decision does not take away from what we were able to accomplish today," he said. "We’ll learn from today, and move forward and use it as a teachable moment.”
After the second tournament of the season, Specht can already see the girls getting better.
“I think our team is getting better, and improving week by week and I think we’re moving in a positive direction,” Specht said. “We have good attitudes and are trying to get better as a team.”
Ulysses finished in 6th with a score of 247 and Holcomb finished in 8th after posting a 292.
The Buffs will turn their sights to Dodge City, as they will travel to the Mariah Hills for their next tournament, set for 1 p.m. Thursday.