CORVALLIS, Ore. -- On a day Caroline Inglis had hoped to make history by achieving something unprecedented, the Churchill High School senior's bid for a fourth state golf title took a heartbreaking turn in which history instead repeated itself.
Inglis signed for an incorrect score following her final round in the OSAA Class 5A girls championship at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis. Because the reported total was lower than her actual score -- 68, rather than 69 -- Inglis was disqualified from a tournament she was on pace to win by nine strokes over her closest competitor.
The shocking turn of events came 41 years after her father, Bill, signed for an incorrect score at the 1971 state tournament, knocking the South Eugene boys from the thick of the team title race.
"I checked it twice; I don't know how I even missed it," Caroline Inglis said Tuesday, after taking some time to reflect on the day's dramatic twists and turns. "I guess I was just caught up in the excitement. I don't know; I keep replaying it in my head -- what I missed, what I did wrong -- and I don't know how I missed it.
"My dad, after every round I play, says, 'Check your score twice, check your scorecard.'" Inglis said, chuckling at the irony. "One of my friends said, 'Like father, like daughter.'"
Inglis' ability to see humor in her mistake was one in a wide range of emotions her family experienced over the course of a few hours.
Caroline Inglis played throughout her senior season after learning of a leukemia diagnosis to her father last year, and through the proceeding treatments, including a stem cell transplant from her aunt, Jane, about four months ago that has proven successful. And so, for a few minutes after Tuesday's final round but before the disqualification was announced, Inglis' historic victory looked like only the latest triumph for a family also celebrating Bill Inglis' improving health.
Bill Inglis gamely walked the course for the final few holes Tuesday, despite admonitions from family to use a golf cart provided to them. After sinking a tough birdie putt on the 17th hole, Caroline Inglis smiled widely back in the direction of her dad, who had come so far since his diagnosis last summer.
"It definitely affected my play; my dad taught me the game, and I grew up playing with him," Inglis said before learning of her disqualification. "So it was definitely hard to go out and play. But I worked myself through it, and he's doing a lot better now.
"I wanted to win for him, make him proud. And I did. It feels great, and I'm so glad that he could be here to watch, and that he's healthy."
Moments later, Inglis' joy turned to disbelief when she was informed of the scoring decision: She had signed for an incorrect total kept by one of her two playing partners. Surrounded by her parents and family friends, Inglis' visible emotions ran from shock to anger to despondency, and she left the course after a few minutes.
"I was just really sad in the moment," Inglis said later.
Had she signed for an incorrect total above her actual score -- say, 70 -- Inglis could have accepted that score, Oregon School Activities Association officials said, in which case she still would easily have won the tournament. But by signing for a total below her actual score, Inglis was disqualified, with no opportunity for appeal.
Thus, Summit High School freshman Madison Odiorne was medalist at 151 after a final round of 1-under 71, helping Summit win the team title at 699 overall. Marist was third at 720, with Sami Pitts (177) and McKenzie Hughes (179) finishing in the top 15 for the Spartans.
Willamette freshman Madalyn Ardueser finished tied for 10th at 174.
After her opening round 73, Inglis had a comfortable 5-shot lead over the field, and she played almost flawless golf Tuesday. She was 4-under for the day when she reached the 18th hole and finally found trouble, with her second shot -- a hard patch of grass just in front of a green-side sand trap.
Inglis pitched up to the green and two-putted, her only bogey to complete a 3-under 69 for the round. But Inglis inexplicably signed for a 68, after her playing partner recorded an even-par 4 on the 18th.
She settles for being one of seven girls to win three state titles, and one of five to win three straight.
"I can either dwell on it and have a bad attitude, or I can get over it and move on," said Inglis, who will play at the University of Oregon next season. "I know I won; everybody knows I won. I'm really proud of myself for the way I played. Mistakes happen. I might as well just get over it, because I have a lot bigger things ahead of me."