Lexi Thompson Says Rule Violation Was '100 Percent' Unintentional After Penalty

LEXI THOMPSON: It's great to have the fan base that I do and they really got me through the whole round.

Lexi Thompson was denied a major victory in the cruellest of fashions at the ANA Inspiration on Sunday after she was hit with a four-stroke penalty for a rules infraction the previous day then lost to South Korean Ryu So-yeon in a playoff for the title. "I wasn't expecting what happened today, but ... it happens, and I'll learn from it and hopefully do better".

Ryu, who also won the 2011 U.S. Women's Open in a playoff, buried a 5-foot birdie putt to claim her second major title with an excellent playoff hole after her bogey-free, final-round 68. The infraction occurred on the 17th green Saturday, when she replaced her coin mark with the ball but put it maybe an inch out of position. "Let's go @Lexi, win this thing anyway".

A television viewer had alerted LPGA officials to the incident via email, but not until the final round at Mission Hills Country Club was well under way.

"I don't think it should happen because you're only showing the people out there who are in contention".

Thompson was still in disbelief after the round, but she handled everything with as much class as you would expect.

"We always work hard to bring our 'A-game, ' and it hurts me as well", Ryu said of Thompson's plight, saying it was "a very unfortunate situation". Thompson said after being informed by a rules official, before making birdies on three of the last six holes to force the play-off.

After getting the ruling, Thompson was visibly upset.

Thompson had a two-stroke lead until she completed the 12th hole in the final round of the ANA Inspiration tournament Sunday.

But Ryu prevailed in the first sudden-death hole, netting her $405,000 for first place.

A disbelieving and tearful Thompson dropped back to second place as the result of those penalties, regathered her composure and immediately responded with a birdie to regain a share of the lead.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) were quick to defend their actions and released a statement after they chose to hand her the penalty. Her celebration was understandably muted, but she still took the traditional leap into Poppie's Pond. But in a display of incredible resilience, she drained a 20-footer for birdie to move back into a share of the lead.

Lucy Li, the 14-year-old amateur who played the opening round with Michelle Wie, who played here as a 13-year-old, shot an even-par 72 on Sunday and tied for 70th with a four-day total of 295.

New Zealand golfer and world number one Lydia Ko finished in a tie for 11th at seven under.

  • Julie Sanders