Kristen Park, the four time Rolex All-American won the Under Armour event in a sudden death play-off but maybe the real story should be told of Kristen’s sportsmanship in the first round.
Kristen started her round on the 11th hole (shotgun start). There were thunderstorms in the area and the players were limited to their warm-up time. Kristen blocked her first tee shot into the woods on her first hole, the 11th. She was surveying her options and was trying to move any leaves, twigs, etc. away from her ball, when she moved a leaf that caused the ball to move. Kristen immediately called a penalty on herself for moving a ball at rest, resulting in a stoke penalty. No one saw the incident but Kristen. Kristen informed her playing partners about her penalty and went on to triple bogey the hole.
Kristen birdied the 12th, doubled the 16th and finished the back nine with a 40. Not to be detoured, Kristen birdied 1, 4, 5, 7, and 9, pars on the remaining holes, giving her a 31 or -5 for the front nine.
Kristen Park, exhibited the best in golf, sportsmanship and honesty. No one would have known if Kristen had not called the penalty on herself. The only problem would have been, that Kristen would have had to live with that decision. There were no television camera’s, rules official’s or anyone else to see the infraction, but that did not matter to Kristen. She did the right thing.
It should be noted that Brian Davis lost in a play-off with Jim Fyurk last week at Hilton Head in a PGA Tour event because he called a 2 shot penalty in the play-off. Fyurk did not like to win in this fashion, but he appreciated the honesty of Davis.
Kristen Park brings honor to herself and the game by doing what came naturally to her.