LPGA – ANA Inspiration, RYU DEFEATS THOMPSON….THOMPSON HANDLES RULING WITH GRACE – By: Mike Arthur, Photos By: Raymond Rodriguez

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Updated: April 3, 2017

Ryu Wins ANA Inspiration; tournament marred by late penalty

Korea’s So Yeon Ryu has won her second major championship in the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA.  Ryu came into the day in third place but gained considerably on a four stroke penalty against Lexi Thompson, the leader through day three.

Thompson had been assessed two two-stroke penalties.  A viewer contacted the LPGA after watching the day’s events and brought notice that on the 17th green Thompson had incorrectly replaced her ball.  Then another two-stroke penalty for turning in an incorrect scorecard according to the LPGA’s statement.

The penalty was assessed in the middle of the round and shuffled the leaderboard and instead of Thompson being two shots ahead found herself two shots behind. Thompson battled back to force a playoff with Ryu.

The ruling is yet another controversy in golf as far as the rules are in play.  The twitterverse exploded with fans expressing their anger with the decision and the way it came down.

For Thompson this is the second year in a row that she has come into this tournament leading after day three and losing in the final round.  Thompson won this tournament in 2014.  Ryu’s first win in the LPGA came in the US Women’s Open in 2011. Both of Ryu’s wins have come in a playoff.

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More on RYU – Golf Channel

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RYU DEFEATS THOMPSON IN PLAYOFF TO WIN ANA INSPIRATION          

After a wait of nearly three years, So Yeon Ryu is once again a winner on the LPGA Tour.

Sunday, Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson with a birdie on the first playoff hole to win the ANA Inspiration. The victory is the fourth career win for Ryu and second major victory – she also captured the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open.

“Yeah, I just, you know, cannot believe this situation. During play, I didn’t even check the leaderboard, but I thought Lexi played really, really well,” Ryu said after her round. “I “I thought, I’m well behind, so all I wanted to do was just play my game and enjoy my game. I was paired with my best friend, Inbee Park today, so I just really wanted to have a really good, strong finish.”

 

To read Amy Rogers’ full recap of Sunday’s final round at the ANA Inspiration, click here:

http://www.lpga.com/news/2017-quick-recap-final-round-ana-inspiration

 

RYU REVELS IN SECOND MAJOR VICTORY

Since 2014, So Yeon Ryu has been the picture of consistency. She has not missed a cut since June 2014, and she has finished in the top seven of each of her four 2017 events leading into the ANA Inspiration. But on the other hand, 2014 was also the year of her last LPGA victory, when Ryu took home the title at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. And it has been nearly six years since she won her first major title, the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open.

 

“I’ve been waiting to win the tournament so long, that this time I was desperate to win the tournament,” said Ryu.

Her wait finally ended today, as she birdied the first playoff hole to win the title over Lexi Thompson and earn the honor of jumping into Poppie’s Pond.

“When you have a 5-foot like champion’s putt, you cannot be really normal. So I shook my hand so much, and then my brain was just going crazy,” said Ryu, who was joined on the jump by her mother (Kywang-Ja Cho), sister (So-Myung Ryu), manager (Sang-Jin Jang) and caddie (Tom Watson). “But I just kept telling myself: Okay, So Yeon, you practice this putt more than a thousand times. Trust yourself and trust what you pick and trust your decision and trust what you’ve been working on, and then I roll it in and I think it falls. That was a pretty nervous moment. But it was a real special moment, as well.”

THOMPSON HANDLES RULING WITH GRACE

During Sunday’s final round, 2014 ANA Inspiration champion Lexi Thompson was alerted in between the 12th and 13th hole that she had been assessed a four-stroke penalty for a rules infraction. That penalty dropped her from a two-stroke lead to a two-stroke deficit. She was able to regroup, refocus and resume her game, ultimately making a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff with So Yeon Ryu.

“I learned a lot about myself and how much fight I do have in me,” said Thompson. “And I don’t know, every day is a learning process, and I wasn’t expecting what happened today but it is what it is. It happens, and I’ll learn from it and hopefully I’ll do better.”

 

LPGA STATEMENT REGARDING LEXI THOMPSON PENALTY

On Sunday afternoon, the LPGA received an email from a television viewer, saying that Lexi Thompson did not properly replace her ball prior to putting out on the 17th hole during Saturday’s third round of the ANA Inspiration. The claim was quickly investigated by LPGA Rules officials.

After a full review, it was determined that Thompson breached Rule 20-7c (Playing From Wrong Place), and received a two-stroke penalty under Rule 16-1b. She incurred an additional two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for returning an incorrect scorecard in round three. She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round.

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More on Lexi Thompson Q & A

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Lexi Thompson speaking with Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz following the conclusion of the ANA Inspiration

 

  1. Obviously an emotional time. You have polarized an entire sporting community in the last two hours. A lot of people rooting for you that never would even watch golf. What are your emotions on what happened in the last two hours?

LEXI THOMPSON: It’s great to have the fan base that I do and they really got me through the whole round. It’s unfortunate what happened. I did not mean that at all.  I didn’t realize I did that. I fought strong through the finish and it was great to see the fans behind me.

 

  1. 13 when you were told walking to that tee, how were you able to sum up — whatever it takes to make birdie there.

LEXI THOMPSON: Just regroup myself. My caddie helped me out tremendously. We have a great relationship and he just said, stay with it. You can still win and we can birdie this hole and I just tried to gather myself before I hit that tee shot. Made a great putt there. But it’s all to the fans. I mean, they helped me get through the rest of the round which helped a lot.

 

  1. Ten years from now, if you have to write a paragraph what you remember most from this week, anyway to predict what that might be?

LEXI THOMPSON: What I learned most? I learned a lot about myself and how much fight I do have in me. And I don’t know, every day is a learning process, and I wasn’t expecting what happened today but it is what it is. It happens, and I’ll learn from it and hopefully I’ll do better.

 

  1. Mike Tirico said what you did on 13 and there on after defines what an athlete is. I think a lot of people are proud of you. How proud are you of yourself?

LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I am proud. Just the way I played coming in. You know, I am a very emotional

person. I fought strong and that’s all I could do.

 

  1. Can you just sum up that for me, everything you just went through?

LEXI THOMPSON: You know, I played amazing today. Probably the best golf I played all week. Wasn’t expecting that on whatever hole that was. I did not intentionally do that. So to the officials, or whatever called in, that was not my purpose. I didn’t even realize I did that. But you know what, I fought hard coming in, and I didn’t give up. I knew I could still win. But I mean, so many players played great, so congrats to So Yeon.