BEMIDJI - Unlike some sports where interpretation can dictate the actions and the outcome of the game, golf is governed by a set of rules that leave nothing to chance.
Unfortunately, there are so many rules that the vast majority of golfers are in the dark when situations out of the ordinary surface.
Tuesday during the Section 8A boys tournament at the Bemidji Town & Country Club, Cass Lake-Bena's Cody Wind bounced his tee shot on No. 15 off a tree guarding the left side of the dogleg.
When he and his playing partners, Orlin Thorsteinson of Kittson County Central and Seth Carlin of Fosston, headed to the spot they were unable to find the ball. Assuming the ball bounced into the hazard, the group decided that Wind should drop, take the one-shot penalty and continue playing the hole.
And that's what he did.
After taking the shot Wind found his original ball and the group, unsure of what procedure to follow, decided that the safe bet would be to have Wind play both balls and determine which one to count after the round.
When Wind, who was in the last group of the day, finished his card would show an 85 or an 84, depending upon whether a penalty shot would be assessed for originally thinking that the ball found the hazard.
In the long run, either score would have been fine with Wind and his teammates as the Panthers would have collectively registered a 354 or 355. Both scores would be better than that of runnerup Fosston which shot 364 and the other two teams in the field. And, either way, the Panthers would be rewarded with a trip to the state meet.
When the group explained to the tournament officials what happened, however, a third option on how to play that hole was brought up.
BTCC pro Rick Grand referenced the Decisions Book on the Rules of Golf and Rule 26 on water hazards dictated that, because no one in the group could definitively say that the ball caromed into the hazard after it hit the tree, the proper thing to do was to declare it a lost ball and return to the tee box after assessing a two-shot penalty.
Grand also contacted a few PGA officials who confirmed that ruling.
In addition to the obscure rules that govern golf, drastic penalties are the consequence when you violate one of those decrees. Wind and his teammates found that out Tuesday.
Because Wind did not follow golf protocol on No. 15, he was disqualified from the tournament. As a result, Cass Lake-Bena's team score dropped to 377 and the Panthers officially finished behind Fosston in the chase for the state tournament.
Instead of CL-B representing Section 8A at the state meet, only Dakota Brunelle who carded Tuesday's medalist round of 77, will be going. Wind and teammates Caleb Duoos, Kyle Pemberton, Angel Rosilio and Bryce Premo will be staying home.
Red Lake also had two state individual qualifiers, Rob McNeal who carded an 84 in the boys division and Daisey Mondragon who shot 95 to claim the sixth spot in the girls division.
The top team and the top six individuals earned trips to the state Class A golf meets which will be June 12-13 at Pebble Creek in Becker.
Brunelle has been playing well and, barring the unforeseen, the senior believed that he would make it as an individual.
But that wasn't his ultimate goal.
"I wanted us to go to state as a team," Brunelle said. "The younger kids were counting on me to play well and I was counting on myself to get the younger kids to state."
A birdie on No. 2 helped Brunelle post a 1-under par round after four holes. Double bogeys on the fifth and seventh holes, plus a bogey on No. 6, however, vaulted Brunelle to a 40 on the front side.
He also started the back nine with bogeys on 10 and 11 but, with the help of birdies on 12 and 14, Brunelle recovered to shoot 37 and finish at 77.
"After the 40 on the front I knew I had to step it up on the back nine," Brunelle said. "After 3-putting for bogey on 10 and 11, I told myself that I had to do better and then on No. 12 I hit it to three feet and I was on my way."
McNeil wasn't as confident in his game when he began Tuesday's round and compounding the problem was the wind and intermittent mist that pestered the golfers.
"During the last few days I didn't do well on this course," the senior said. "My goal was to make it to state and this was my last chance.
"The wind was messing with my shots a little bit but my putting was good all day. Now that I made state my goal is to give it my best," he added.
Section 8A Golf Tournament
BTCC, par 72
Fosston 364, Cass Lake-Bena 377, Lake of the Woods 384, Kittson County Central 386
Medalist: Dakota Brunelle (CLB) 77
Other state individual qualifiers: Tanner Knutson (Northern Freeze) 79, Ben Langaas (Badger-Greenbush-Middle River) 83, Rob McNeal (Red Lake) 84, Seth Carlin (Fosston) 85, Hunter Swendseid (Sacred Heart) 90
Other Cass Lake-Bena: Caleb Duoos 95, Kyle Pemberton 98, Angel Rosilio 107, Bryce Premo 109, Cody Wind DQ
BTCC, par 74
Fosston 386, Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 393, West Marshall 419, Climax-Fisher 433
Medalist: Kailey Carlin (Fosston) 88
Other state individual qualifiers: Kailey Younggren (Kittson County Central) 89, Vanessa Burke (Badger-Greenbush-Middle River) 89, Adrienne Kronschnabel (Fertile-Beltrami) 93, Hannah Wagner (Climax-Fisher) 94, Daisey Mondragon (Red Lake) 95