8am Round-Up: Masters week starts with another rules rumpus in golf

Golf's rules are back in the spotlight after Lexi Thompson was hit with a four-stroke penalty with six holes left before losing out in a play-off to Korea's So Yeon Ryu in the season's opening major.


The American had been leading the ANA Inspiration in California by three shots when she was informed of the penalty, which had been incurred after a television viewer emailed the LPGA.

It followed Thompson, who had former Scottish Amateur champion Kevin McAlpine caddying for her, marking her ball then replacing it in the wrong place on the 17th hole on Saturday at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.

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'On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole during Saturday's third round of the ANA Inspiration,' the LPGA said in a statement.

As a result, Thompson was hit with a two-shot penalty for playing from the wrong place and a further two shots for signing for an incorrect scorecard.

After being notified of the penalty between the 12th and 13th holes, the 22-year-old fell a shot behind Norway's Suzann Pettersen before getting her nose back in front with birdies at the 13th and 15th.

A bogey at the 16th then left Thompson trailing Ryu after she'd set the clubhouse target of 14-under following a closing 68.

A majestic approach at the last, a par-5, set up a title-winning eagle chance for Thompson, but she left that agonisingly short before losing the first extra hole to a birdie.

'I didn't realise I did that,' said a tearful Thompson afterwards of her infringement. 'I did not intentionally do that. But, you know what, I fought hard coming in and I didn't give up. But so many players played great, so congrats to So Yeon.'

It was Ryu's second major victory, having made the breakthrough when winning the 2011 US Women's Open, and she admitted: 'It's a very unfortunate situation.

'It just hurts me as well. It's a weird feeling. But, at the same time, I'm really proud of myself and just appreciate everything right now.'

The incident followed Dustin Johnson overcoming a similar situation - he was penalised for his ball moving on the fifth green in the final round - to win the US Open at Oakmont last year.

On this occasion, former world No 1 Tiger Woods immediately came to Thompson's defence, tweeing: 'Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes.'


Russell Henley became the 94th and final player in this week's Masters after producing a brilliant final round to win the Shell Houston Open.

The 27-year-old signed off with a seven-under-par 65 that contained 10 birdies to claim his third PGA Tour title triumph with a 20-under 268 total.

Henley's success took the field for the season's opening major back up to 94 after four-time winner Tiger Woods announced on Friday that he wasn't 'tournament ready'.

It was something of a surprise victory for Henley and not just because he'd headed into the final round sitting four shots off the lead.

Coming into this event, he'd missed five cuts in a row, but his mood has changed considerably after securing a fourth Augusta National appearance.

The man from Macon in Georgia missed the cut on his debut in 2013 before finishing joint-31st and 21st the next two years.

Korea's Sung Kang, seeking his first career win on the US circuit, carded a closing 72 to finish second, three behind Henley, while Luke List (68) and Rickie Fowler (70) tied for third on 16-under.

'I was six back going into 17, [but] you never know what is going to happen in this game,' said Henley.


Eight junior golfers - four boys and four girls - were crowned champions at the fourth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals in the build up to the 81st Masters.

'It is exciting to see all of the golfers here today,' said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National. 'It's a culmination of a lot of hard work, so much of it by the USGA and the PGA of America.

'We end up with a great job of being the host, so these wonderful kids, and it is so exciting.

'There is a tremendous amount of energy here, and it is a great way to start our Masters week.'


One of the big talking points yesterday in the countdown to the Masters was the new Media Centre at Augusta National.

Constructed in less than a year, the building offers state-of-the-art technology and houses media covering this year's tournament.

Located at the top end of the practice range, the heart of the building is an arena that seats about 350, with large windows offering views of the range.

The building also includes a dining room, the Bartlett Lounge, that pays tribute to the Quonset hut, the barracks-style building that housed the media from 1953 through 1989, with its curved roof.


Miguel Angel Jimenez chalked up his fourth Champions Tour triumph after making a successful defence of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic title.

The Spaniard secured a one-shot success over American Gene Sauers after holing an 18-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole in a play-off at Fallen Oak.

The 53-year-old held a two-shot lead playing the last before running up a double-bogey but made amends by making his title-winning birdie at the same hole in the sudden-death shoot-out.

'When I make birdies I feel like I can win the tournament,' said Jimenez, who signed off with 70 for a 13-under-par 203 total. 'I'm happy to defend the way I defended.'


Glenbervie's Graeme Robertson got his 2017 campaign off to a flying start with a wire-to-wire win in the Scottish Champion of Champions at Leven Links.

The former Stirling University man carded rounds of 65-72-69-71 for seven-under-par 244 total, winning the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic campaign by three shots.

Robertson took a one-shot lead over Crail's Fraser Carr into the final round, before using his experience to hold off Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie) and Jamie Stewart (Old Ranfurly) as they ended up in a share of second spot.

The win sets Robertson up nicely for his Craigmillar Park Open title defence the weekend after next, having used that victory last year to secure a sixth straight Home Internationals appearance.


Darren Howie won the first Scottish Junior Tour event of the new season at Forrester Park in Fife.

A four-under-par 212 total left Peebles player Howie a shot ahead of Callum Bruce after the Banff youngster took a double-bogey at the penultimate hole.