Elizabeth Moon of Forrest City lost her semifinal match Friday in the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., in bizarre fashion.
Moon, who won her quarterfinal match earlier in the day, led Erica Shepherd of Greenwood, Ind., 2 up after 14 holes but found herself all-square after the 18th. On the first extra hole, Shepherd missed a 15-foot birdie attempt to leave Moon with about a 5-footer to win the match.
After Moon conceded Shepherd’s short par putt, Moon missed left with her birdie attempt. Moon quickly pulled her ball back to the spot where she missed and took another stroke, which is allowable in match play, but only after a putt has been conceded. Shepherd did not announce she was conceding the par attempt before Moon moved her ball.
The end result was Moon, 17, was assessed a penalty under Rule 18-2, therefore turning it into a loss of hole that ended the match and sent Shepherd into today’s championship against Jennifer Chang of Cary, N.C.
“Today, in a semifinal match of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, Rule 18-2 was applied in response to Elizabeth Moon purposely moving her ball on the 19th green while it was still in play,” said Craig Winter, USGA director of rules of golf and amateur status on the association’s website. “While we are sympathetic to both players, and no one wants to see a match end in this fashion, the Rules are clear in this particular situation.”
The two were all-square after the front nine, but Moon won three of the first four holes on the back side to lead 2 up. Shepherd then won the par-4 15th before getting up and down from well below the par-3 16th to halve the hole. She then won the par-4 17th to draw even before both players tied the par-4 18th to force the extra hole.
Earlier in the day, Moon fell 2 down after 10 holes to Ami Giachandani of Watchung, N.J. Moon won the 11th but lost the par-5 14th and halved the 15th. Faced with the 2-down deficit, Moon made three birdies in a row to win all three holes to cap her come-from-behind 1-up victory.
Shepherd d e feated Youngin Chun of Gainesville, Fla., to set up the semifinal match-up with Moon. Chang, meanwhile, defeated Calista Reyes of San Diego, 4 and 2, in a quarterfinal before topping Taylor Roberts of Parkland, Fla., 5 and 4 in the other semifinal.