Lexi Thompson assessed four-stroke penalty while leading ANA Inspiration

Lexi Thompson
@GolfChannel
Twelve holes into her final round at the ANA Inspiration where she led by two on Sunday, Lexi Thompson was assessed a four-stroke penalty for an infraction that occurred in Saturday's third round.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
Connect with T.J.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, April 02, 2017 | 9:24 p.m.

Lexi Thompson was in cruise control it seemed and on the way to her second major championship at the ANA Inspiration on Sunday. Through 12 holes, Thompson had a two-stroke lead.

As she walked off the 12th green, however, a rules official informed Thompson that she was being assessed a four-shot penalty for something that happened in Round 3 on Saturday, when the 22-year-old, seven-time LPGA winner improperly replaced her golf ball after marking it.

A television viewer noticed and called in the infraction.

Here's how it happened:

As you can see, Thompson appeared to mark her golf ball to the side before replacing her ball in front of the marker. That infraction led to a two-stroke penalty.

Thompson was assessed another two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. Until recently, that would have led to a disqualification. Now, however, it's just a two-stroke penalty.

Thompson signed for a 67, which should have been a 69 with the two strokes for the improperly replaced ball and then had to add two more for signing the wrong score.

Understandably, Thompson was extremely emotional when she learned about the ruling and fought through tears over her final six holes.

Here, Dan Maselli, Manager of Rules and Competition for the LPGA Tour, discusses the ruling on Lexi Thompson:

Somehow, Thompson managed to birdie the 13th hole after learning of the ruling. She also birdied the 15th and 18th (after a bogey on No. 16) to grab a spot in a playoff with So Yeon Ryu.

No matter how the tournament ends in the playoff, kudos to Thompson for mustering up the courage to force a playoff. 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.