|So Yeon Ryu (l), Lexi Thompson (R)|
An email was received by LPGA officials from a viewer about a possible rules infraction during the third round.
After deliberating for two hours, they informed her that she had violated rule 20.7c when she replaced her ball an inch away from its original position one foot from the hole.
She received four strokes in penalties. Two for the rules infraction, and two strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard.
"Oh my god," said Thompson, as she broke into tears.
LPGA official Sue Witter later said she was 100-percent sure it was not intentional. "It was a hard thing to do. To be honest it made me sick."
When TV viewers were informed of the infraction, Thompson had a 2 stroke lead. When the score was adjusted she was two strokes back.
With the crowd chanting Lexi, Lexi, Lexi during the remaining holes, she birdied the 13th & 15th hole to tie for the lead. Her bogey on the 16th, coupled with So Yeon Ryu's birdie on 18, left Thompson one stroke back.
She would par the 17th hole and went to 18 with her playing partner Suzann Pettersen, both needing a birdie to force a playoff.
When Pettersen hit her 2nd shot on the par five 18th hole over the green, she was able to only salvage a par. Lexi put her 2nd shot about 12 feet from the hole and missed the winning eagle put by less than an inch.
When Ryu birdied the first playoff hole she was the 2017 ANA Inspiration champion. It was the second Major Championship victory of her career. For Lexi, it was her 2nd playoff loss this young season.
Tiger woods sent out the following tweet when the penalty was announced. "Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes. Lets go @Lexi, win this anyway."
This one will be remembered for a long, long time. One has to question how a penalty this severe could be assessed a day later. Here is hoping the rule is changed and no one will ever have to suffer like this again.
Kudos goes out to Suzann Pettersen (who was blasted during the last Solheim Cup), for being a calming influence on Thompson during the final holes. She handled the situation with class.
For Ryu, (who in this bloggers opinion is one of the classiest acts on the LPGA Tour), it will be a bittersweet victory. This story should be about her winning, but unfortunatly for most, that was not the biggest story.
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