Thompson pays the penalty for rules blunder

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Lexi Thompson received a four-stroke penalty with six holes to play in the final round of the ANA Inspiration on Sunday for making an incorrect ball placement one day earlier.

Ryu So-yeon clinched her second major title after a drama-filled play-off win over Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration.

Thompson was cruising with a three-shot lead through 12 holes when she was informed by LPGA rules officials of the penalties from the previous day.

Thompson was two shots clear on 17 under having just bogeyed the 12th hole when she got the news from tournament officials that she was being punished for incorrectly replacing a marked ball on the 17th green on Saturday.

LPGA rules official Sue Witters later said she was 100-percent certain that Thompson did not do it intentionally.

Fowler, speaking ahead of the Masters, said: "I don't think you could find one player that would say otherwise. I am really appreciative of everything right now".

"She's trying to hit this tee shot from tears", Mike Tirico said on the telecast.

Thompson, despite the setback, forced the tournament to a playoff by hitting three birdies that pulled her even with South Korean golfer So Yeon Ryu.

Realising it was not, she added: "That's just ridiculous", before beginning to cry.

In a surreal scene, when Thompson approached the 18th green, the crowd started chanting her name and she gave some in the gallery high-fives.

"I don't understand how you can penalise someone four strokes.if you're going to do it there's got to be a time limit on it". She parred the first playoff hole and Ryu won.

Ryu almost put her playoff approach shot into the water, but got up and down with a 6-foot birdie putt to win.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) were quick to defend their actions and released a statement after they chose to hand her the penalty.

14-time major tournament victor Tiger Woods was apparently watching from home, as he offered his two cents and encouraged Thompson to "win this thing anyway".

"Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes", he said. "Let's go @Lexi, win this thing anyway".

Ryu still made the traditional joyous leap into Poppie's Pond with her caddie and family. So you're telling me that's a fair situation as well? She finished tied for third with Inbee Park and Minjee Lee.

Thompson released a statement on her Instagram following the controversy explaining she wasn't aware of her error, and thanking fans for their fervent support in what was obviously a hard moment.

  • Julie Sanders