Ellen Port was denied the championship in the recent Missouri Women’s Golf Association’s Mid Amateur Championship that was held at Greenbriar Hills Country Club in Kirkwood.
Port and defending champion Mindy Coyle, of Columbia, were disqualified for playing the wrong tee. Carmen Titus, of Kansas City, ended up the winner after being the runner-up last summer.
The 36-hole stroke play tournament for amateur women aged 25 years and older entered it’s fourth year in the popular event. A total of 53 women teed it up in two divisions of play. The Championship Division played at 5,415 yards and par 71 while the Open Division played at 5,153 yards and a par 72.
Port’s consistent steady play with two birdies on the front put pressure on the field at the turn. A double bogey on the par three 10th erased the gain, and was followed by par golf until the 18th hole which proved to be once again troublesome as she bogeyed it both days. Port, who recently won the MWGA’s state championship, came in with a 1-over round of 72 and seemed ready to accept another Missouri Women’s title.
However, after leaving the scoring table, both Coyle and Port were consulted by the Rules Committee concerning a rules infraction in round one.
An announcement was made by Head Rules Official Karen Shippy.
“In the Championship Flight, it was said in the notice to competitors that the players should play gold tees. We had a situation on No. 10 where the white tees for the Open Division had been actually placed further away than the Championship Division gold tees, Shippy said. “Understandably, two players thought they should play the back tees. Unfortunately, the rules in the competition’s notice said to play gold tees, it did not say ‘unless they are placed incorrectly’. It is the player’s responsibility to conform to that rule.
“We thought yesterday, with the information received that the players had played from the gold tees, so we were all right with the situation. We found out today, based on input from other players who had heard other circumstances proved that they had played from the white tees. We are extremely sorry and saddened to have to do this, but we have to comply with USGA rules. We have sought counsel from Scott Hovis, Executive Director of the Missouri Golf Association, and then consulted the USGA. We have done everything we can to try to avoid this situation and it just keeps coming back to the player being responsible to play gold tees. Unfortunately, Ellen Port and Mindy Coyle have been disqualified from the tournament.”
Titus was awarded the Mid Amateur Championship trophy and was understandably shaken by the turn of events.
“I really didn’t want to win this way,” Titus said. “I’d rather win by score, not default. I feel badly for the circumstances.”
Diane Chancellor, Glencoe, played well and took the runner-up spot. Kathy Glennon, of St. Albans, claimed third place. Casey O’Brien, of St. Louis, took fourth, while Tina Jones, of Wildwood, earned fifth and Jennifer Webb, of Des Peres, placed sixth.
The Open Division final day was tighter with each flight having close races for first place. Leader Melanie Trimmer, of Chesterfield, had a difficult day, falling back to fourth position in A Flight. Peggy Muenster, of St. Charles, found herself tied with Sue Springmeyer, of St. Albans, for first place in A Flight with a total score of 176.
A scorecard playoff was won by Sue Springmeyer, giving her first place in A Flight. Second place went to Peggy Muenster and third was awarded to Anne Moreland, of St. Louis.
The overall winner of the Open Division was awarded to B Flight’s Cathy Arnold (Lee’s Summit) who struggled with a first round 95, but followed it up with an 80 for the low tournament score of 175. The second place in B flight was awarded to Deborah LePoire, of St. Albans, with third going to Peggy Shamleffer, of St. Louis.
The C flight was won by Cindy Hauter (St. Louis) with Connie Bredensteiner (St. Charles) earning second and Nancy Davidson (Fenton) taking third.