Lexi Thompson was denied her second major title yesterday at the ANA Inspiration, after being handed a four-stroke penalty for a rules infraction that had taken place the previous day.
Thompson looked well on her way to victory at Rancho Mirage after a display of superb ball striking put her three shots ahead of the field with six holes to play. But the twenty-two-year-old was dealt a huge blow when she was informed by officials as she was walking to the thirteenth tee that a TV viewer had noticed her incorrectly mark her ball during Saturday's play, and that she was to be penalised two shots for the infringement and a further two shots for incorrectly signing her scorecard.
“Wasn't expecting that on whatever hole that was. I did not intentionally do that," Thompson said about the penalty. "So to the officials, or whatever called in, that was not my purpose. I didn't even realize I did that.”
Thompson could be seen in tears on the tee, but would go on to show remarkable resilience, holing a twenty-foot putt for birdie on the same hole and making two more birdies coming in, including at the final hole, to pull herself into a tie at the top with So Yeon Ryu.
She was met by thunderous applause as she walked over Poppie’s Pond on the final hole, but would go on to miss a 20-foot eagle putt that would have given her a sensational victory.
“I learned a lot about myself and how much fight I do have in me. Every day is a learning process, and I wasn't expecting what happened today but it is what it is. It happens, and I'll learn from it and hopefully I'll do better,” Thompson said.
It would be the Korean who would come out on top in the play-off, holing a six-foot putt on the first extra hole to claim her second major title. Ryu had carded a final round four-under par, 68 helped by a birdie at the 72nd hole which put her at 14-under par.
Inbee Park, Minjee Lee and Suzann Pettersen finished T-3 at 13-under par. Michelle Wie finished sixth at 11-under par. Defending champion Lydia Ko finished T-11 at seven-under par.