Past champion Anna Davis receives four-stroke penalty at Augusta National Women’s Amateur

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EVANS, Ga. — Augusta National Women’s Amateur defending champion Anna Davis will face a severe uphill climb in her title defense after a four-shot penalty. Davis picked up her ball twice from the rough on the first hole at Champions Retreat to lift, clean and place, she explained after the round.

Davis thought she recorded a bogey on the hole but wound up with a nine, as two penalty strokes are applied to each infraction. Davis said she was informed of the potential violation on the fourth tee, which she proceeded to double.

Augusta National sent out a memo to players on March 28 noting that due to heavy rains earlier in the week, the committee opted to adopt Model Local Rule E-3 “preferred lies” for the first two rounds of the tournament.

The rule restricts the use of preferred lies to “areas cut to fairway height or less.” Davis mistakenly thought the rule was for the entire course, which is why she did it twice on the first hole. She didn’t find out until after her round that she would take the penalty.

The top-30 players and ties advance to the final round, held at Augusta National. Davis won the third edition of the tournament last spring at age 16 and came into this week’s tournament fresh off a victory at the nearby Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.

Davis sits at 4 over for the tournament and T-41.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek