Nicklaus Praises HS Golfer Who Self-Reported Error

Having praise heaped upon you by the greatest champion golf has ever seen was the thrill of a lifetime for South Dakota high school golfer Kate Wynja, but the reason why she’s being lauded was the result of a very difficult decision. 


Playing in the Class A state golf tournament, Wynja, the defending state champion, signed for a 4 on the 18th hole instead of the 5 she made. She realized the mistake as scores were being posted to the tournament leaderboard and knew the consequences right away: she would be disqualified and it would cost her team their first state title since 2011.


“I knew I needed to tell them,” Wynja said, according to The Argus Leader. “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.”

Despite their best efforts, the tournament committee could not find a loophole or ruling to soften the blow. Wynja was DQ’d and her score was taken away from her team’s total, which resulted in a runner-up finish. 

“It was awful and I feel truly awful for her,” Dan Swartos, one of the tournament directors said. “I have so much respect for Kate to come up and do that. 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.”

The self-report has garnered Wynja accolades throughout the golf community, including a personal tweet from Jack Nicklaus. 


Wynja was playing in her final high school event. The graduating senior will continue her golf career at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.