Lexi Thompson penalized for rules violation in return, still in contention

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Lexi Thompson penalized for rules violation in return, still in contention

LPGA Tour

Lexi Thompson penalized for rules violation in return, still in contention

Lexi Thompson has posted a pretty eye-opening performance in her return to golf.

The American fired Saturday a third-round 64 at the Indy Women in Tech Championship and is solo fourth and just five back entering the final 18. This comes in her first event back after an extended break from golf in order to “focus on herself away from golf.”

And it’s despite incurring a penalty, too.

Thompson flailed her drive Saturday at Brickyard Crossing GC’s par-5 10th so far right that her ball ended up in the sixth fairway. The tournament was being played Saturday under preferred lies, meaning Thompson and the rest of the field were allowed to lift, clean and place in a closely mown area.

But that rule only applies to the hole one is currently playing on. So if Thompson hit it in the 10th fairway on this drive, she would’ve been fully within her rights to lift, clean and place. As she found a fairway at the sixth – a hole she wasn’t playing at that moment – the rule didn’t apply and thus this was an infraction.

A rules official witnessed Thompson mid-infraction, and she was assessed a one-shot penalty. The official actually might have saved her from an additional infraction. If Thompson had made the illegal lift, clean and place move, placed her ball in a slightly different spot and played from there … that would be another one-shot penalty for playing from the wrong spot.

In any case, it was a one-shot penalty overall. Thompson managed to rebound quickly, though, as she would end up parring the hole and played her final eight in 2 under for her 64.

Still, it can’t be fun to be involved in another rules violation after last year’s ANA fiasco and a penalty situation earlier this year at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

If Thompson were to somehow win Sunday, this would be a pretty big stamp in impressive mental fortitude.

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