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Controversy in Northern Virginia Golf

Noori Hyun shot a 3-under par 33 on Wednesday at Westfields Golf Club as Centreville beat Westfield for the second time in three weeks to finish the regular season undefeated.

The Wildcats, though, will not be credited with an undefeated season in district play that would have given them a berth in the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament in two weeks.

What gives? When Centreville and Westfield played on Sept. 3, the Wildcats won by one stroke. Or so they thought.

After the match, a Westfield player said two Centreville players in her foursome helped each other line up putts, a two-stroke penalty per offense. Centreville Coach Georgie Bigus said his players were guilty of this but wondered if the accusations were handled properly, saying they should have been made as soon as discovered so that the offending players would not repeat their offenses. Also, Bigus said, Centreville’s players alleged that Westfield’s players in a different foursome had collaborated on club selection, which also would violate the Rules of Golf. Westfield’s players, though, denied the allegations, according to multiple sources. (Westfield Coach Tim Vigotsky could not be reached immediately to comment on Thursday.)

“There was advice going on on both sides of the ball,” Bigus said. “There is an unwritten rule amongst players that they can help one another, was the wind I was catching from a lot of coaches in other districts, saying their kids were doing that. Now, everyone is on guard.”

Bigus and Vigotsky sought out the club’s two professionals for a ruling on the dispute, but were unable to come to a resolution. (Bigus said that on Wednesday he heard back from the United States Golf Association, which told him that a penalty could be assessed even if a player did not admit a violation.) Ultimately, the principals of both schools agreed for a rematch, Wednesday, back at Westfields.

Since Westfield already had lost to Chantilly and Chantilly had lost to Centreville, the only thing at stake was bragging rights and whether Centreville could finish its Concorde District season undefeated in match play.

But while a rematch seemed to satisfy both teams, it was met with resistance by the athletic directors of the Concorde District’s four other schools.

“A lot of people had the sentiment that they didn’t think it’s right to do a do-over,” said Chantilly Athletic Director Terry Brown, who oversees golf for the district and the Northern Region. “I can’t blame them. I am one of them. I don’t know anybody who does a do-over in anything. I think probably the coaches shouldn’t have left the course without a decision what they were going to do. It’s a he-said, she-said type of thing. Both schools accuse each other of cheating or not following the Rules of Golf. I called down to the VHSL and [assistant director] Tom Dolan and he said they can play the match over if they’re not over the 11-match limit. But the conversation among coaches was they didn’t think it’s right.”

Subsequently, at the meeting Wednesday, the Concorde athletic directors voted 5 to 1 that regardless of the outcome of that afternoon’s match, no golf team would be recognized as undefeated in district play.

Bigus told his players of the decision before the match, then Centreville went out and beat Westfield 146 to 152 as Matt Woodworth and Chris Upham shot even-par 36s.

On Thursday afternoon, Bigus was planning to speak with Centreville Athletic Director Jimmy Sanabria and Principal Mike Campbell. Barring intervention by the Concorde District’s principals, however, the teams will have to wait until next week’s district tournament to settle things on the course.

“I don’t recall this happening before,” Brown said. “I hope it never happens again.”

By Josh Barr  |  September 17, 2009; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Concorde District , Centreville , Chantilly High School , Golf , Westfield  
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