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‘Not one of my smartest moments’: Lydia Ko defends caddie after costly blunder

Lydia Ko has defended her temporary caddie and pinned the blame on herself after a costly blunder at last week’s Dana Open.“Not one of my smartest moments,” the Kiwi golfer called it, after she was hit with seven penalty strokes for playing preferred lies at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Ohio.



Having not spoken to media after her mistake resulted in her plummeting 41 spots on the final day of the LPGA tournament, Ko told her side of the story on social media.The world No 3 was quick to point out to critics that regular caddie David Jones wasn’t on her bag, which was instead carried by a member of coach Ted Oh’s team, one who doesn’t usually caddie on tour.“So this incident is not something he should be blamed or criticised for. Ultimately, it was my responsibility to check the memos carefully and thoroughly,” Ko said.



“I completely own my mistake, and while it is frustrating, the seven stroke penalty I received was justified as I incorrectly played preferred lies on holes I was not meant to.”Ko, who hasn’t finished inside the top-30 on the LPGA Tour since her first start of the year, didn’t do her homework ahead of the final round of the tournament.She assumed preferred lies were in place on all fairways, as had been the case during the third round, and had no idea what she was in for when she didn’t play her ball from the original spot on holes 3, 7 and 9.



However, the rule, utilized during bad weather, and which allows players to pick up their ball, clean it and move it to a preferred lie, was only in place on holes 1 and 10.It was on hole No 11, as Ko marked her ball as if she was going to clean and replace it, when a rules official was notified Ko had been playing preferred lies.She was hit with two-stroke penalties for each of the first three times she played preferred lies on the front nine (rule 14.7a), and a seventh penalty stroke on 11 for deliberately touching and moving her ball under rule 9.4b.



It meant her pars on 3 and 7 became double bogeys, and her bogey on No 9 morphed into an ugly triple.“On the bright side, if I had hit more fairways I might have broken the world record in stroke penalties received over 11 holes,” Ko wrote, followed by a laughing emoji.
“Unfortunate to have learned the hard way, but it happened and now I can move on. Now onwards and upwards.”Ko’s next start is the fourth of five majors this year, the Evian Championship next week.

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