Top ANWA contender assessed devastating 4-stroke penalty on first hole

anna davis swings

Anna Davis' Augusta National Women's Amateur title defense got off to a rough start as she received a four-shot penalty on her opening hole.

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Anna Davis’ title defense at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur did not get off to the start she’d hoped for.

According to witnesses following her group, the 17-year-old lifted and cleaned her ball twice on the opening hole at Champions Retreat before she played from the rough. The tournament rules committee put lift, clean and place rules in effect for the first round, but only in closely mown areas. As a result, Davis received two two-stroke penalties, changing her 5 into a 9.

“During play of her first hole, Anna Davis lifted her ball and failed to replace it on its original spot on two separate occurrences,” said James B. Hyler, Jr, the chairman of competition committees. “Under Rule 9.4, Ms. Davis has been penalized two strokes for each occurrence of playing from a wrong place.”

Davis was informed of the infraction on the fourth tee box. However, she did not formally receive a penalty until she arrived in the scoring area after her round. She made double bogey on the fourth hole after learning of the infraction, but she bounced back with four birdies on her last 13 holes.

“I knew we were playing lift, clean and place,” Davis said. “I asked my scorer if we were doing it like everywhere, but I guess he didn’t know. But he said, yeah, we were. So whatever. It happens.”

With the four-stroke penalty, Davis posted a four-over 76 for the day, leaving her T43, 10 strokes behind leader Rose Zhang. Only the top 30 players (and ties) will make the cut after Round 2 and have the chance to compete for the title at Augusta National.

“Little rough start to the day, but that’s all right, it happens,” Davis said. “It’s a learning experience.”

In last year’s ANWA, Davis posted 76 in Round 2 at Champions Retreat before putting together a three-under 69 at Augusta National to take the title.

“I’m determined to have a good round tomorrow and play my best,” Davis said. “We’ll go from there.”

Davis is scheduled to tee off for Round 2 at 8:46 a.m. ET Friday morning alongside Emilia Migliaccio and Charlotte Heath.

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