TACOMA, Wash. - Last week at the Washington 1A District Golf Tournament Mike Lambert did something on the 18th hole that may be rarer than a hole-in-one. He accidentally hit the wrong ball and while he could have gotten by with the mistake, he turned himself in to the scorekeeper and took a two-stroke penalty.

That penalty cost Lambert a trip to State tournament in Spokane. Lambert said, "It took me a day or two to get over hitting the wrong ball, but I know I did the right thing in taking the penalty strokes."

Lambert realized he was in the thick of things on the 18th tee and when his drive went long, but near a clump of trees he knew he had hit "a good shot." He found a Titelist Pro V1 on the fringe and chipped it into great position to make par, which would have earned him a coveted trip to state.

About 15 feet further up he saw another ball and thought, "This is my lucky day, I found a ball." His luck soon changed when he saw it too was a Titelist Pro V1, but this one had the single red mark on it that Lambert uses to identify his golf ball for tournament play.

"No one saw me pick up the other ball and I could have gotten away with it, but I didn't want anyone getting a distorted vision of who I am so I told the scorekeeper," Lambert explained. "I didn't check the first ball for my mark because it had a good lie and I didn't want to disturb it. I mean how many other Pro V1's would there be in that spot on the course?"

Lambert finished with an 86 including the two-stroke penalty he had imposed upon himself. An 84 qualified fellow Ilwaco linksters Peter Gaynor for a trip to state on the McChord Air Force Base course. "I felt relaxed today and played good but not great," Lambert said of his game at district.

Lambert moved to the Long Beach Peninsula in the fifth grade and began playing golf in the eighth grade under the tutelage of Don Sheldon. "I'm proud of the three letters I've earned in golf and in being selected for the IHS Drama Award this year," the junior said of his accomplishments.

Lambert also earned the respect and compliments from many people including high school secretary Andrea Marsh and athletic director Matt Blair. "Earlier this year I didn't tell the truth and got into even more trouble at school than I would have gotten," Lambert admitted.

Having learned his lesson he was able to smile and give the following advice, "Be sure and mark your ball - and check it. Besides I've got next year and will play in tournaments this summer."