The rules of golf can be frustrating, cruel and complicated, and there are times when they can put golfers in an embarrassing position.

Just ask Will Kannegieser of Minot, who plays out of Martindale.

He played in the 52nd annual Paul Bunyan Tournament, held June 19 at Penobscot Valley and on June 20 at Falmouth. When it concluded, he thought he was in a first place tie, facing a playoff for the championship. During the round at Penobscot, however, he experienced a situation that changed all of that.

He hit his tee shot on the par-5 15th hole, which is a dogleg to the right. His ball was headed toward the left rough, where Kannegieser and his playing partners searched for five minutes. They had no luck finding the ball, so he returned to the tee and hit another drive. When they found his second tee shot, they discovered his first ball just a foot away.

And that is where the problem began.

Mistakenly, Kannegieser thought that he should play the first ball. He believed he was following the rules of golf, so nothing was said about it until the next day when he finished his round at Falmouth. It then was suggested to Kannegieser than his decision to play the first ball at No. 15 on June 19 might have been a rules violation.


Matt Barnard of Harris Golf was summoned and he spent 20 minutes scouring the USGA Rules Book and the Internet to determine a ruling. The rules said Kannegieser should have played the second ball, because the five-minutes allowed to search for the first ball had expired.

USGA rules state that when a player hits the wrong ball in golf it results in a disqualification. That meant that Kannegieser was out of the tournament and Chris Cloutier of Fox Ridge was the 2016 champion of one of Maine’s most prestigious amateur events.

“Not knowing the rule,” Kannegieser said in retrospect, “I should have played both balls. That would have resulted in a two-shot penalty. “

But it would not have gotten him disqualified and Kannegieser said: “As far as I knew, I was within the rules.”

With no rules officials on the course, Kannegieser had to proceed, thinking he was doing the right thing. He came away from that knowing that in the future he needs to be more deliberate in situations regarding the rules.

“I learned not to be so hasty,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking clearly. I needed to slow down and think it through.”


Kannegieser, a 2015 Gould Academy graduate, is coming off a “gap year,” which means he was not enrolled in school 2015-16. He played in several Maine State Golf Association tournaments last fall and then spent the December through April living with friends in Waterville Valley, N.H., which he said is known as “the birthplace of freestyle skiing.”

Next month on Aug. 29, Kannegieser will begin his freshman year at Williams College, where he will become a member of the golf and ski teams.

“I wanted to be a Division I skier and to play Division III golf,” he said about that plan, which is going to make Kannegieser a busy young man, something he is sure he will enjoy, because as he put it: “Williams will be a great place for me.”


The Maine State Golf Association has a busy schedule during the upcoming week, with a Senior Tour event July 5 at Augusta, along with Junior Tour events July 5 at Martindale, July 6 at Brunswick and July 7 at Fairlawn. Plus, there are the regular weekly tournaments July 8 and 9 at Prospect Hill.

The MSGA Junior Tour is in full gear, with seven events scheduled for July and seven more in August. The June 29 event at Belgrade Lakes was called off because of a rainstorm. The MSGA is working on getting that tournament rescheduled.

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