Rules

Top amateur stung by rarely called penalty. Why a tattoo (!) may be to blame.

Golf clubs

The temporary tattoo didn’t leave much of a mark. 

The rare penalty received likely because of it, in the end, didn’t either. 

In a wild sequence on Saturday at the Spirit International Amateur Championship, Sam Bennett found shortly after he teed off that he was carrying one club over the maximum of 14, was hit with the two-stroke penalty, then recovered and won. And how did the rogue club end up in Bennett’s bag at the international team and individual event? As first reported by Golfweek’s Adam Schupak, as teammate Rachel Heck painted Bennett’s face in a nod to team spirit, her 58-degree was likely accidentally dropped in his bag.

“I was like, ‘Oh, crap!” Bennett told Golfweek of his reaction to finding the extra club.

According to Schupak, Bennett, a senior at Texas A&M, saw the wedge on the 1st hole at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Texas, reported it to an official and marked himself for a double bogey. The mistake enacted Rule 4.1b, which states: “A player must not: Start a round with more than 14 clubs, or have more than 14 clubs during the round.”

Heck told Schupak that she had placed her club on Bennett’s bag, and it worked its way in. 

“I figured it out right before I teed off, and I felt absolutely terrible,” the sophomore at Stanford said to Golfweek. “That should have cost me, not him. It really did motivate me. I wanted to contribute to the team and make sure we came out on top because I knew if we didn’t, I would feel like it was partially my fault.”

After the penalty, Bennett birdied six of his next 11 holes, finished with a three-under 69 and won the individual event by two shots. Bennett and teammate James Piot, the U.S. amateur champion from Michigan State, finished second in the team event by a shot to Sweden.

In the women’s event, Rose Zhang, a freshman at Stanford, won by three shots, while Heck tied for fifth. The two combined to win the team event by seven strokes, and Bennett, Piot, Zhang and Heck claimed the combined team title by 21 shots.