Birdie lifts Ryu
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — 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.
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.
n 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.
n 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.