RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Lexi Thompson received a four-stroke penalty with six holes to play in the final round of the ANA Inspiration on Sunday for making an incorrect ball placement one day earlier.
The extraordinary delayed penalty knocked Thompson out of the lead at the LPGA Tour's first major of the year.
After gathering her composure when her three-shot lead vanished, the 22-year-old responded with a birdie on the 13th hole to pull even with So Yeon Ryu, Minjee Lee and Suzann Pettersen atop the new leaderboard.
Thompson was penalized after a television viewer apparently alerted officials that Thompson has marked her ball and then put it back in an improper place before a 1-foot putt on the 17th green in the third round Saturday.
The LPGA incredibly didn't decide on a penalty until Sunday, when Thompson had a three-stroke lead and appeared to be cruising to her second major championship.
Thompson was penalized two strokes for an incorrect ball placement and two strokes for an incorrect scorecard.
Thompson reacted with disbelief when officials told her of the decision while she walked to the 13th tee.
"Is this a joke?" Thompson asked.
After being assured it wasn't, she responded: "This is ridiculous."