Being disqualified because you cheated on purpose is one thing — but being disqualified because you cheated as the result of an honest mistake is a whole different ballgame… or golf game in this instance.
Such was the case for South Dakota senior and all-star golfer Kate Wynja.
After her high school, Sioux Falls Christian, had just won the Class A State Championship last week, Wynja realized that she had made an error that could cost her team everything.
Wynja, who finished first overall two years running AND finished several shots ahead, suddenly noticed that she’d made a mistake on her scorecard. Instead of marking 5 on No.18, she had incorrectly marked 4.
“I knew I needed to tell them,” said Wynja. “It was really sad, mostly because I knew what the result would be. I knew that I would be disqualified, and it broke my heart for the team.”
“But I knew I couldn’t leave without saying something,” added the teen, whose Christ-like integrity outshined her desire for a championship trophy.
Wynja informed her coach of the violation, and together they reported it to the directors of the tournament.
As they anticipated, she was disqualified, which also meant her team lost their first-place standing and dropped into second.
Though the outcome was gut-wrenching, Wynja handled it with the utmost class, pointing to how God will be glorified through her misfortune.
“Obviously today didn’t go as planned, but God has a plan and uses tough situations for his glory,” she tweeted.
Instead of focusing on the loss, Wynja instead chose to focus on the positive: the blessing of getting to play a sport she loves.
“Blessed with the ability to play golf and play for the glory of God :),” she added. “Thanks for the all the love and support.”
While she certainly didn’t expect a pat on the back for just ‘doing the right thing,’ Wynja has now received praise from across the country for taking integrity in sportsmanlike conduct to a whole new level.
“I have so much respect for Kate to come up and do that,” said tournament director Dan Swartos. “I cannot say enough for that young lady and how much integrity that took, and how proud I am to have kids like that in South Dakota.”
Kudos to this admirable young lady for choosing honesty over a trophy and God’s glory over her own.