Rules farce mars the opening women's major of the year

Lexi Thompson was given a four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration

BY Daniel Kelly 07:42 Monday 3 April 2017, 7:42 3 Apr 2017

Lexi Thompson reacts following her loss in playoff against So Yeon Ryu during the final round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC. Picture by: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

The ANA Inspiration, golf's first women's major of the year ended in a rules farce on Sunday night in California.

Lexi Thompson, the 2014 champion looked on course to win her second major, before she was given a four-shot penalty for an infringement that took place during Saturday's round.

The 22-year-old was playing on the back-nine, and after bogeying the 12th hole, she was informed of the four-shot penalty. Without playing a shot, she went from three strokes clear of Suzann Pettersen, to a shot behind with six holes to play.

Thompson was easily heard asking "Is this a joke?" by television viewers, when being notified of her penalty.

During Saturday's round, the World number nine was adjudged to have marked her ball on the 17th an inch away from where she picked it up. An eagle-eyed viewer e-mailed the LPGA on Sunday morning of the rules violation.

Thompson was given a retrospective two-shot penalty for not replacing the ball in the right position, and a further two-shot penalty for subsequently signing her scorecard for the wrong score.

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. She birdied the final hole, but lost in the play-off on the first hole to Korean golfer Ryu So-yeon.

Plenty of players had their say on what happened during the final round including Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood. While both men were sorry for the situation and how it unfolded, Westwood was putting the blame firmly on Thompson's shoulders. 

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