3 Apr 2017

Thompson denied Major win in controversial fashion

3:44 pm on 3 April 2017

The American golfer Lexi Thompson has been denied a major victory in the cruellest of fashions.

Thompson was hit with a four stroke penalty with six holes left at the ANA Inspiration in California, then lost to South Korean Ryu So-yeon in a sudden death playoff for the title.

The American was leading by three when was informed of a rule breach stemming from the way she replaced her ball on the 17th green during Saturday's third round.

American golfer Lexi Thompson.

American golfer Lexi Thompson. Photo: LPGA.com

She incurred a two-shot penalty for the breach and another two-shot penalty for returning an incorrect scorecard.

The LPGA said in a statement that a television viewer had alerted them to the infraction on Sunday and that after a review they had informed Thompson of the breach.

"Is this a joke? Oh my God. Four-stroke penalty, that's just ridiculous," Thompson said when notified of the penalty.

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson Photo: Photosport

The American gathered herself and actually birdied the 13th. She then had an eagle putt on the last to win in regulation but had to settle for a birdie and a playoff with Ryu.

Ryu then birdied the 18th, the first playoff hole, to win the title.

New Zealand golfer and world number one Lydia Ko finished in a tie for 11th at seven under.

The 19-year-old will retain her world number one ranking for another week after her closest rival, Ariya Jutanugarn, finished in a tie for eighth at nine under.

After her round, Ko tweeted her support for Thompson.

"Ubelievable... really need to CHANGE and do something about people being able to call in!" Ko said.

The New Zealander wasn't the only prominent golfing figure to tweet their frustrations at the situation, former men's world number one Tiger Woods was among many unhappy with the mid-round decision.

"Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes. Let's go Lexi, win this thing anyway," tweeted Woods.