Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AREA NOTEBOOK; Prep Golfer Accepts Penalty

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AREA NOTEBOOK; Prep Golfer Accepts Penalty

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Evan Berlin won more than he lost last week at the District 6-1A boys golf tournament at the San Jose Country Club.

The Providence senior won't be going to the regional tournament this week, either as a member of his team or an individual qualifier. Both of those opportunities were lost when he penalized himself last Monday for a shot that nicked a tree, kicked back and hit him in the foot at the 10th hole of the San Jose Country Club.

According to the rules, it's a one-stroke penalty if a ball hits the player after it is struck. No other competitors were near Berlin when it happened. His father, PGA Tour executive Ross Berlin, was watching at the time, but his view was obscured when his son went into the patch of trees to play his second shot.

He made one attempt to get the ball out, but it failed to clear the trees. On Berlin's third shot, the ball ricocheted off the tree and came back at him. He didn't see the ball hit his foot because in trying to keep his head down to punch the ball out, he lost sight of the ball.

But he heard it hit the tree - then felt something nudge his foot. He looked down, and saw the ball.

Berlin played his next shot onto the green and two-putted for what his father thought was a double-bogey.

But after he putted out, his son called for a rules official, and told him what happened, and put a triple-bogey down on his card.

"The official asked Evan if he was sure it was the ball ... could it have been a stick or something," Ross Berlin said. "But Evan said it had to be the ball, even though he didn't see it. He couldn't, in good conscience not call the penalty on himself."

Here's where the story gets heartbreaking. Evan Berlin shot 76, and missed by one shot getting into a playoff for the final individual qualifying spot for the regionals. …

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