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All eyes in South Korea may be on the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, but a domestic golf event in the country has hit the headlines after it was thrown into disarray following a huge rules controversy.

A top golf official in the country was forced to resign after the goings-on at the KB Financial Star Championship – a Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) event – which saw penalties issued then retracted, players threaten to withdraw and all first round scores wiped.

According to Reuters, the issue arose because it was difficult for players to distinguish between the green and the fringe at several holes on the Black Stone Golf Club in Ichon.

Choi Hye-jin, then co-leader on six-under-par, and Park You-na were hit with two-shot penalties following Thursday’s opening round after marking their ball and picking it up, believing they were on the putting surface when in fact they were just off the green.


But the KLPGA later discovered that four other players had committed the same offence, resulting in officials backtracking on the penalties handed to Choi and Park.

“The committee discussed the matter and decided to rescind the penalties issued to Choi Hye-jin and Park You-na and decided not to impose penalties on the four other players,” a KLPGA official told Reuters.

A players’ meeting went on until late on Thursday with some players threatening to quit if the penalties were wiped and others saying they would walk if they were enforced. The KLPGA then decided to wipe all first round scores.

“We deeply apologise to players, golf fans and sponsors who helped organise the tournament,” the KLPGA said in a statement. “We will do better to meet the expectations of those who love the KLPGA and will do our best to prevent similar cases from happening again.”

The KLPGA confirmed that leading rules official Choi Jin-ha had resigned over the matter.

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