LPGA pro cleared, then penalised, for rules breach

Nicole Broch Larsen

An LPGA Tour pro was given a one-stroke penalty at the rain-plagued Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic for a rules breach... despite being cleared by an on-site rules official.

Playing the par-5 fourth hole, the 13th of her second round, Danish pro Nicole Broch Larsen thought she saw her ball move and, at that point, was near the summit of the leaderboard.

The 23-year-old discussed the situation with an on-course rules official, who ruled that Broch Larsen hadn’t caused the ball to move. She played on and made what she thought was a birdie, but this wasn't to be the case in the end.

That's because an LPGA official assigned to watch the broadcast of the event contacted the on-site Rules Committee with 'added information' from seeing video footage.

A statement from the LPGA Rules Committee read: "During the second round of the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic, Nicole Broch Larsen breached Rule 18-2 (ball at rest moved by player) on the fourth hole.

"While the on-course Rules Official originally deemed there to be no penalty, the LPGA's official monitoring the telecast contacted the on-site LPGA Rules Committee with additional information prompting the Committee to review the video.

Nicole Broch Larsen1

"After reviewing the video and having further dialogue with the player, the Rules Committee determined that more likely than not, the player caused the ball to move as described in Decision 18-2/0.5.

"Therefore Larsen incurred a one-stroke penalty for causing the ball to move, but did not receive the additional penalty for playing from a wrong place because she was following the directions of the on-site Rules Official."

Taking a par instead of birdie, Broch Larsen fell to six-under-par for the tournament when play was suspended for darkness, leaving her tied with four other players for first as they waited to finish the second round.

Broch Larsen then played her remaining four holes on Sunday in one over and finished her 36 holes at five-under-par. South Korean and last year's Rookie of the Year, Sung Hyun Park, fired a five-under-par 66 in the second - and final - round to clinch her third LPGA Tour title.

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