RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) So Yeon Ryu won the ANA Inspiration on Sunday in a one-hole playoff with Lexi Thompson, who was given a four-stroke penalty late in the final round for an incorrect ball placement a day earlier.
Ryu birdied the 18th hole in the playoff to win her second major title, but her celebration was muted because of the bizarre circumstances on the Dinah Shore Course.
The 22-year-old Thompson had a three-shot lead and appeared to be cruising to her second major championship when LPGA Tour rules officials informed her of the penalty with six holes to play.
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An email from a television viewer during Sunday’s final round alerted officials to the violation committed Saturday, and the LPGA Tour confirmed it with video review. Thompson had marked a 1-foot putt with a coin on the 17th green during her third round Saturday, but she replaced the ball perhaps 1 inch out of position.
Thompson’s composure was visibly shaken when the ruling dropped her one shot off the lead, but she incredibly birdied the 13th hole. She battled back into a five-way tie for the lead, making three birdies and a bogey on the final six holes of regulation at Mission Hills Country Club.
Ryu birdied the 18th hole to move in front, but Thompson crushed her approach shot on the 18th several minutes later. With emotions visible on her face amid loud chants of her name, Thompson gathered herself – but left a 15-foot winning eagle putt about an inch short.
Ryu, who also won the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, claimed her second major title with an excellent playoff hole after her final-round 68 at the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year.
HUMBLE, Texas (AP) – Russell Henley made 10 birdies in the final round, rallied from a four-shot deficit and closed with a 7-under 65 to win the Shell Houston Open and earn the final spot in the Masters.
Henley and Sung Kang were tied with six holes to play when Henley ran off three straight birdies with two short putts on par 5s and a 35-foot putt on the par-3 14th. Kang, going for his first PGA Tour victory, didn’t make a birdie over his last 10 holes and closed with a 72.
Rickie Fowler was 3 over after four holes and didn’t make up ground until it was too late. He tied for third with Luke List.
Henley finished at 20-under 268 for a three-shot victory over Kang, the third of his career and first since 2014. It was the third time in the last four years that the Houston Open champion got into the Masters by winning.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) – Miguel Angel Jimenez made a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Gene Sauers and win his second consecutive Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Jimenez looked as if he was going to win relatively easily on Sunday, with a two-shot lead going into No. 18 at Fallen Oak.
But the 53-year-old Spaniard had a stunning double bogey on 18 to finish at 2-under 70 for the round. Sauers made par to force the playoff, but his second shot on the playoff hole found the bunker, and he couldn’t recover.
Sauers started the final round with a one-shot lead after a superb 63 on Saturday, but shot a 71 on Sunday to fall just short of his first victory of the season.
Steve Stricker, who shot a 65 for the lowest round on Sunday, and Bernhard Langer were tied for third, one shot behind the leaders.