One day after Oregon golfer Nicholas Kipp’s high school golf career appeared to be over after an unfortunate bounce on a playoff hole, the senior was granted a second chance thanks to a WIAA scoring error.
Milton and Mukwonago each scored a 324 in Tuesday’s sectional golf meet, but a scoring technology error listed Mukwonago as scoring a 320 instead. The error wasn’t discovered until Wednesday.
The WIAA rulebook lists all team scores as final in playoff situations, but the organization has agreed to overrule this decision for this instance after Milton and Mukwonago agreed to a playoff.
WIAA Director of Communications Todd Clark could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Milton and Mukwonago will compete at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 10 to determine which team will qualify for the Division 1 state tournament in the Wisconsin Dells on Monday, June 14 and Tuesday, June 15.
Kipp, Sun Prairie sophomore Tyler Schick, Fort Atkinson junior Brayden Brown and Mukwonago sophomore Tyler Schroeder will compete for the final spot immediately after the team playoff should Milton beat Mukwonago on Thursday.
Kipp was one of four other golfers to lose to Milton sophomore Deegan Riley in a playoff for the final individual qualifying spot on Tuesday. If the Red Hawks qualify for state, Riley and freshman teammate Brett Wieland would give up their individual qualifying spots for the team qualification.
“It’s a completely bizarre situation,” Oregon coach Sara Mess said. "But from what I’ve seen, I’m really excited with how he's handling it. And it’d be great for him to get a second chance at it just because, you know, the first one wasn't really totally determined by golf stuff. He just got such a funky break there."
Mukwonago senior Matt Paulson would take one of the spots with a 75, but then there is a four-way tie for the last individual spot at 78, which would be decided by a playoff on Thursday. If Mukwonago beats Milton in the team playoff, there will be no individual playoff.
The playoff would take place on the 10th hole, a 491-yard par 5. Playoffs typically occur on the first hole of an event, and the sectional began on the back nine due to scheduling conflicts.
Kipp was on the driving range with Mess on Wednesday morning to decompress and process Tuesday’s sectional when Mess received a text from another coach saying she needed to call somebody about the sectional.
When they heard what had happened, both she and Kipp were stunned.
“Explaining it to him, he just had kind of one of those expressions like, what are you gonna do,” she said. “This has been a completely crazy season, and of course this would happen."
For the team playoff, five golfers from both Milton and Mukwonago will play a hole on Thursday, and the top four scores from each team will be counted. The team with the low score will win the playoff. If there is a tie, the process will continue to the next hole, and the same five golfers will repeat.
The scores do not have to be from the same golfers.
The discrepancy occurred in the WIAA’s automatic scoring system, which tries to keep scores updated in real time, Mess said. Mukwonago’s No. 4 golfer Cooper Barry shot a 42 on the front nine when you add up his scores hole by hole, but the computer system totaled the shots incorrectly to give him a 38.
The four strokes were the difference in what would have been the tie with Milton.
"You assume what the WIAA puts out is hopefully correct,” Mess said of the mistake.
Immediately after receiving the call on Wednesday, Mess had Kipp head to the putting green. Putting was the one area that Kipp said he struggled with at the sectional meet, and he wants to be ready if he gets another chance on Thursday.
He told the Oregon Observer on Wednesday that a trip to state has been his goal for as long as he can remember.
"It'd be up in the top highlights of my life because it's just something I've worked at all year, all winter and it'd be nice just knowing that the grind will reward you in the end, so getting to that point would be a nice reward," Kipp said.
In the playoff on Wednesday, Kipp hit his second shot a little left, hitting a tree. Instead of bouncing straight down or kicking out, it rocketed more than 50 yards out of bounds to lose the playoff.
If he gets back to a playoff on Thursday, Kipp’s coach thinks he has a real shot and said her No. 1 golfer is in a good state of mind despite the whirlwind of the last few days.
"Trying to get yourself back up for something two days after the fact when you spent the evening kind of coming to grips with the fact that your high school career is over, and then now it might not be, it's just pretty crazy to have to deal with,” she said.