Helen Alfredsson outlasted Juli Inkster to win the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick in Indiana – but it was the misfortune of the bottom player on the leaderboard that proved to be the event’s biggest talking point.
Lee Ann Walker, who last played on the LPGA in 2008 and now works in real estate, was assessed a remarkable FIFTY-EIGHT penalty strokes after falling foul of one of the game’s newer rules.
In violation of Rule 10.2b, implemented at the start of this year, Walker had been using her caddie to help her line up her putts.
She only found out it was an issue when her playing partners, Laura Bough and Laura Shanahan Rowe, alerted her to it after six holes of her second round. She had different playing partners in the opening round, who had apparently not noticed the breach.
As soon as she was made aware of it, Walker immediately called in a rules official who, after a conference with the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, had Walker go through all the holes she had played to determine how many times she had broken the rule.
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A whopping 42 penalty strokes were then added to her first round score, bringing it to 127, with 16 added to her second round total, turning it into a 90.
That gave the American a 36-hole total of 73-over-par – 39 strokes behind the next worst score.
Walker later admitted that, having been away from the game for so long, she wasn’t aware that rule had changed.
“It was my fault for not knowing the rules,” she said. “I don't have anyone to blame but myself. Big lesson learned.”
She still managed to see the funny side, though.
“I may have made the Guinness Book of World Records,” she added.