LPGA icon and 2-time major winner Lydia Ko entered the 2023 Dana Open following a string of not-so-memorable outings on the greens. In the nine starts preceding the tournament, Ko had finished in the top 10 only once and had missed cuts twice! So, when the Kiwi golf sensation descended upon the Highland Meadows Golf Club last week, her one big goal was to turn things around and return to her winning ways. And for a while, it all seemed possible until the final round came around.
In a bizarre turn of events, the former World No. 1 was hit with 7 penalty strokes following an embarrassing misunderstanding on her end. Amidst growing chaos related to the incident, Ko has now taken to social media to put all speculations to rest. So, what did the golfer have to say? Let’s find out!
Lydia Ko offers her perspective on the 7 penalty shots during the 2023 Dana Open
Before the last round of the 2023 Dana Open kicked off, Lydia Ko sat comfortably in the 24th spot on the leaderboard. After rounds of 67-68-72, she was in a good position to surge up the leaderboard on the final 18 holes. But Ko’s hopes were soon dashed after being informed on the 11th hole that she had improperly played preferred lies at several points during the day!
Preferred lies were actually in place on the fourth day, but just on holes 1 and 10. The 19-time LPGA winner, meanwhile, ended up playing them on the 3rd, 4th, and 9th! An LPGA spokesperson revealed to Golf Digest that she had “played from a wrong place on each of those holes” and received three two-stroke penalties. On No. 11, Ko’s ball was lifted, following which she called for a ruling. It was then returned to the original spot, and she ended up incurring a one-stroke penalty.
On Wednesday, the golfer took to her Instagram story to own up to the blunder. “What happened last Sunday was definitely not one of my smartest moments,” she wrote. “But I completely own my mistake, and while it is frustrating, the 7 stroke penalty I received was justified as I incorrectly played preferred lies on holes I was not meant to.”
She also went on to slam people who were blaming her team for the penalty. At the Dana Open, the LPGA star played without her regular caddie, David Jones. Instead, a member of her coach, Ted Oh’s team, was on her bag for the event. “Ultimately it was my responsibility to check the memos thoroughly and carefully,” she confessed.
The reason behind Lydia Ko’s confusion at the 2023 Dana Open
During the third round of the Dana Open, bad weather conditions threatened to ruin the day’s play. This led to LPGA officials deciding that preferred lies be played throughout the round. The next day, relaxation was allowed on just two holes, No. 1 and 10, something Lydia Ko wasn’t aware of.
The World No. 3 ended up playing preferred lies on the 3rd, 7th, and 9th, going par-par-bogey on those holes. But, following the penalty strokes, the pars changed into doubles. Meanwhile, the bogey on No. 9 became a shocking triple. She eventually closed with a 78, resulting in a total of 1-over 275. Ko’s performance saw her tie for the 65th spot at the end of the fourth day, 22 shots behind winner Linn Grant!