AROUND THE TRAPS

Golf Australia - - CONTENTS -

SO YEON RYU leapt into Pop­pie’s Pond af­ter win­ning the first ma­jor of the LPGA Tour sea­son in con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances.

Amer­ica’s Lexi Thomp­son ap­peared to be cruis­ing to­wards a sec­ond ma­jor cham­pi­onship at the ANA In­spi­ra­tion, be­fore she was dra­mat­i­cally awarded a four-stroke penalty mid­way through her fi­nal round.

Thomp­son, who held a three-shot lead af­ter bo­gey­ing the 12th hole, was ap­proached by rules of­fi­cials, who no­ti­fied the 22-year-old she had breached two rules dur­ing her third round af­ter slightly mis­plac­ing a marked ball on the 17th green. But what made the sit­u­a­tion even more spec­tac­u­lar, was that the LPGA was only made aware of the in­ci­dent af­ter a tele­vi­sion viewer had ad­vised them of it via email.

“On Sun­day af­ter­noon, the LPGA re­ceived an email from a tele­vi­sion viewer, say­ing that Lexi Thomp­son did not prop­erly re­place her ball be­fore putting out on the 17th hole dur­ing Satur­day’s third round of the ANA In­spi­ra­tion,” a state­ment from the LPGA later said.

“Af­ter a full re­view, it was de­ter­mined that

Thomp­son breached Rule 20-7c (Play­ing From Wrong Place), and re­ceived a two-stroke penalty un­der Rule 16-1b. She in­curred an ad­di­tional two-stroke penalty un­der Rule 6-6d for re­turn­ing an in­cor­rect score­card in round three.”

Thomp­son couldn’t hold back tears as she teed off on the par-4 13th. But with the en­tire crowd chant­ing her name, the World No.4 ral­lied, fight­ing her way into what would even­tu­ally be­come an un­suc­cess­ful play­off against So Yeon Ryu.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate what hap­pened … I did not mean it at all,” Thomp­son said green­side. “I learnt a lot about my­self, and how much fight I have in me. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing what hap­pened to me to­day, but it is what it is, and I’ll learn from it.”

Kar­rie Webb joined a hoard of play­ers out­raged by the sit­u­a­tion, later tweet­ing: “We have had two of our last four ma­jors de­ter­mined by HD slo-mo video re­play. Is it okay that golf his­tory is be­ing writ­ten this way?”

South Korea has now recorded five wins in the last six events on the LPGA Tour and Ryu, who claimed her sec­ond ma­jor cham­pi­onship, was hum­ble in vic­tory.

“Every player is so ded­i­cated and we al­ways work hard to bring our A-game,” the World No.3 said af­ter win­ning on the first play­off hole. “Lexi didn’t re­ally know about the sit­u­a­tion, so it hurts me as well … So yeah, it’s kind of a weird sit­u­a­tion but at the same time, I’m re­ally proud of my­self.”

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