Ryu wins ANA Inspiration in playoff after Thompson's penalty

Ross Houston
April 5, 2017

DIVOTS: Michelle Wie shot a final-round 69 and finished three shots off the lead in sixth place, her best finish in a major since she won the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.

Champions: Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic for the second straight year, beating Gene Sauers on the first playoff hole with an 18-foot birdie putt in Biloxi.

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.

She copped a two-shot penalty for that and further two shots because she had therefore signed an incorrect third round scorecard before the infraction was reported and investigated.

Lexi Thompson was positioned for a smooth landing into the year's first LPGA major, up three strokes on the field with six holes remaining.

Despite being given the four-stroke penalty, the 22-year-old birdied her next hole, and had an eagle putt on the 18th to win the tournament.

Pettersen, playing in the final group with Thompson, played shot-for-shot with Thompson until the end but settled for a third-place tie with a final-round 70 and four-day total of 13-under-par 275.

"We always work hard to bring our "A-game", and it hurts me as well", she said of Thompson " s plight, saying it was "a very unfortunate situation".

The LPGA said she breached USGA Rule 20-7c and Rule 16-1b. She didn't miss a top 10 in her four previous starts this season.

"Imagine a basketball game having to go back and look back at something different, but this has got to stop", Tripp Isenhour, golf channel studio analyst, said.

But Britain's Lee Westwood posted: "You know all this rules confusion could have been averted if Lexi just mastered the art of marking and replacing the ball in the same spot". She received two strokes for that violation plus two more for signing an incorrect scorecard.

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

Thompson choked up slightly, but gathered herself and mashed a drive.

Golf fans on the course and the Internet erupted with outrage when the LPGA's decision became understood.

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".

As she walked off the 12th green, Thompson was approached by LPGA rules officials.

It emerged that a television viewer spotted the offence and informed LPGA officials, who reviewed the footage and sanctioned the American mid-round. "Let's go Lexi, win this thing anyway".

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