Caddie's awful blunder costs player place in US Amateur quarters

Us Amateur Incident

Spare a thought for Agustin Segungo Oliva Pinto. He's out of the US Amateur Championship - through no fault of his own.

The Argentine's Round of 16 match with American Tyler Strafaci was all-square coming down the last at Bandon Dunes when he hit his third shot into a front greenside bunker.

As he approached the ball, Oliva Pinto's caddie - a local looper called Brant Brewer - stepped into the hazard, bent down and brushed the sand with his hand. 

Harmless, right? Wrong.

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Rule 12.2b states that a player or caddie must not “deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke.”

Frank Strafaci, Tyler's father and caddie, witnessed the infraction and called in a rules official. Brewer tried to plead his case, insisting that he didn't touch the sand. However, as you can see in the clip below, there's no question that he did.

The penalty was subsequently upheld and, per the rules, Oliva Pinto was forced to concede the hole - and, with it, the match.

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"As soon as I get back there, the referee comes up and asks my caddie
what happened, and I’m completely shocked," he told the Golf Channel. "I’m just trying to get this shot near [the hole] and try and make an up-and-down and win the match. He touched the sand or something, and that’s a penalty.”

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Strafaci said it was a bittersweet way to advance to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

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“I was reading my putt and saw him duck down," he said. "I didn’t see him touch the sand, so I didn’t think I was right to make a decision on it, but my dad saw it and he’s going to fight to the death for me.

“It sucks that it came down to that because it was a phenomenal match.”

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