AROUND THE TRAPS
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.”