April 18, 2006
COPPEROPOLIS, Calif. - The final standings show Gonzaga University in last place in the West Coast Conference Men's Golf Championship that concluded Tuesday, but had it not been for a bizarre lost ball and a case of honesty the Bulldogs would not have been relegated to the basement.
Bulldog sophomore Reyn Tanaka, who had apparently finished with a 1-over 73 in Tuesday's final round and a 54-hole total of 228, instead took a disqualification for playing the wrong ball out of the rough early in the final round.
According to Bulldog head coach Robert Gray, Tanaka had hit a ball into the same general area of rough during Sunday's practice round. When he wound up in the same area on Tuesday he found what he thought was his ball - it had the GU logo and his markings on it - and played the ball. However, upon further inspection, the ball he played was a "3" (a ball identifier marking) and he and his playing partner were playing a "2" which led Tanaka to disqualify himself for playing the wrong ball.
"He is an honorable young man," Gray said. "It shows what kind of a guy he is. And it falls into what we preach at Gonzaga - we don't cheat to win."
The disqualification dropped Gonzaga to a team score of 928 and six shots behind the University of San Diego, instead of giving the Bulldogs a 917 and seventh place ahead of the Toreros.
Jimmy Hayes was the top Bulldog placer in a tie for 16th at 226 after rounds of 74-77-75 over the 6,826-yard, par 72 Saddle Creek Golf Course. Brian Locke of Loyola Marymount University took medalist honors at 210, good for a 3-shot victory over Ryan Gonzalez of the University of San Francisco.
LMU captured the team title with an 872, five strokes better than USF.