Lexi Thompson Penalised Four Strokes To Lose Major

She had a shot to join the playoff between Thompson and So Yeon Ryu, but Pettersen, who birdied three holes during a front-nine 33, just missed for birdie on the 18th Sunday, the final hole in regulation.

Thompson held the 54-hole lead at the first women's major of the year by two strokes but, at the 12th green during the final round, was informed of an infringement that had taken place the previous day.

An email from a TV viewer during the final round alerted officials to the violation committed Saturday.

It was at that point the American was tournament officials that she was being punished for incorrectly replacing a marked ball on the 17th green on Saturday, while also incorrectly signing her scorecard. "I had no idea that I had replaced my ball in the wrong place". She incurred an additional two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for returning an incorrect scorecard in round three. "I did not mean that at all. I didn't realize I had done that".

Pettersen had a first-hand view of rules officials notifying Thompson of her four-shot penalty after the 12th hole Sunday.

Ryu moved up a spot to No. 2 in the latest world rankings, behind only Lydia Ko. Thompson crushed her approach shot on 18 several minutes later. With emotions visible on her face amid loud chants of her name, Thompson gathered herself - but left a 15-foot winning eagle putt about an inch short.

She came into ANA Inspiration as the money leader with US$387,166 and the scoring leader at 67.938 strokes per round.

Later, Thompson posted on Instagram to make it clear it was an honest mistake: "Well it was an emotional day here for me, first off I do want to say what I had done was 100% not intentional at all I didn't realise I had done that".

The game is littered with professionals calling penalties on themselves and even at amateur level there is nothing worse for a player to have been found to have intentionally flouted the rules.

22-year-old Lexi Thompson thought she had won top prize at the ANA Inspiration, only to find one eagle-eyed viewer had e-mailed in over a misplaced marker... It's a very unfortunate situation.

Thompson had been leading by three and was walking to the 13th tee with her second major in sight when she was stopped dead in her tracks by a rules official, who told her of the penalty.

"Is this a joke?" Thompson asked. After being assured it wasn't, she responded: "This is ridiculous".

Thompson, who won the major as a 19-year-old in 2014, said it was support from the roaring crowd that helped drive her through the finish line.

OK, here's a good rule for golf - the general public should not not be allowed to officiate an event, especially if they're at home at the time.

  • Julie Sanders