Ruling’s result: repeat champion in 4A golf

Union’s Docherty wins 4A district title again after B.G.’s Hall penalized two strokes

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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RIDGEFIELD — Alistair Docherty of Union won his second consecutive Class 4A district golf championship Wednesday afternoon, but he was not really in a celebratory mood.

He took home the title only after Battle Ground’s Chad Hall was assessed a two-stroke penalty for an infraction on the second hole of the final round of the tournament at Tri-Mountain Golf Course.

What could have been a one-stroke victory for Hall turned into one-stroke victory for Docherty after Hall was ruled to have grounded his putter in his putting line.

“He was very mad. I don’t blame him,” Docherty said of Hall. “Having to go through a ruling like that and have the title taken away. He played great all week. He had no double bogeys. I had two.”

Actually, Hall did have one double bogey — after the ruling.

“It kind of sucks that that one little mistake can ruin — can pretty much take away — the win,” Hall said. “Other than that, I was happy with the way I played.”

Making it more difficult to process, Hall and Docherty thought the infraction would a one-stroke penalty, if there were to be a penalty assessed at all.

In the final group together, they played on knowing that a rules official would make the final call at the end of the round. So when Hall drained his 12-foot par putt on the 18th, he figured he had either won by a stroke or, with a one-stroke penalty, at least forced a playoff.

A few minutes later, he found out it was a two-stroke penalty.

Docherty finished the tournament with a 71-72 for a 1-under-par 143. Hall fired a 1-under 71 on the final day to finish a stroke behind Docherty.

“I felt like I played great this week other than two holes,” Docherty said. “I definitely could have been in the 60s both days.”

While not wanting to win the way he did, Docherty said he accomplished his goal of defending the title.

“I wanted to win district individually and as a team,” he said.

The Titans scored 189 points to top Skyview’s 159 in a system that gives points based on individual placings. Ian Spicer, Jake Boatwright, and Eddie Abellar finished fourth, fifth, and sixth for the Titans.

“A pretty solid group, from the first match until districts,” Union coach Gary Mills said. “Fairly consistent the whole way.”

Skyview’s Garrett Kooistra was third place, eight shots off the lead.

The top four players advance directly to the Class 4A state tournament in the spring. The next six will play in the bi-district tournament in May for one final chance to make it to state.

“Now we’re just looking toward state,” Docherty said. “I really feel like I can play my best and have a chance at the title.”