The first LPGA major tournament of the season, the ANA Inspiration, ended in a sudden-death playoff with 26-year-old South Korean So Yeon Ryu emerging as the winner on the first playoff hole over Lexi Thompson. However, a controversial 4-stroke penalty that got handed to Thompson was the focus of the golf community.

Thompson's 4-stroke penalty

On the walk between the 12th and 13th holes in the final round Lexi Thompson got informed by rules officials that she would be assessed a 4-stroke penalty.

The penalty came on the 17th green the previous day when a television viewer e-mailed officials to alert them that Thompson had marked her ball and then placed it improperly. The viewer said Thompson had placed her ball back an inch from where it had been before her 1-foot putt. However, the LPGA did not decide on a penalty until Sunday and informed Thompson, who asked "Is this a joke?" She got penalized two strokes for incorrect ball placement and two more for signing an incorrect scorecard.

What happened after the penalty

This turned Lexi Thompson's two-stroke lead into a two-stroke deficit with only six holes remaining.

She gathered herself quickly and bounced back to birdie the next hole. Thompson got to the 18th hole one shot behind Ryu, with the crowd chanting her name in support. Thompson then hit this amazing shot that landed on the 18th green with a chance at a long eagle to win the tournament that she barely missed.

The tournament then went into a sudden death playoff with So Yeon Ryu making birdie on the first hole to win the LPGA's first major of the year. Hopefully Thompson can bounce back and win a major this year after this controversial heartbreak.

Ryu's major win and South Korean dominance

For So Yeon Ryu, this is her second major win, with her first having come back in 2011 when she won the U.S. Women's Open. It is also the 17th career win as a professional for the number five ranked golfer in the world. This is her first win this year after two second place finishes. Ryu's win now means that South Korean golfers have won more than fifty percent of the recent majors, having won 13 of the last 25.

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