Southgate handed four-shot penalty after ball hits leaf

Golf News

Birkdale hero Matthew Southgate wasn't having a great day but it got a whole lot worse when his ball came into contact with a leaf...

This might be a new one. Matthew Southgate is playing the Web.com Tour Finals in the hope of securing a card for the PGA Tour.

Standing at one over he was standing over a shortish putt for birdie at the 15th which would then take him back to level for the day and level for the tournament.

This then happened…

What caused Southgate’s ball to deviate so alarmingly was a leaf. Strange and most likely the first time that it has happened to the 34-year-old but these things happen.

So he tapped in.

Enter the Rules of Golf and Rule 19-1. What Southgate should have done is replay the stroke from its original position. The par four, which was unlucky in the first place, turned into an eight with two shots for playing from the improper spot, and two more for signing an incorrect scorecard. Think Lexi Thompson but rather than a belated phone call it was a force of nature.

“Matthew’s stroke from the putting green was in motion when it was deflected by a leaf in motion and the putt was missed,” a Web.com Tour official explained. “Rule 19-1 requires for the stroke to be cancelled and replayed. Matthew proceeded to tap in his next putt and continued on with his round. The committee was made aware of the situation after Matthew signed his scorecard and prior to the close of competition.”

Southgate, sixth at this year’s Open which got him into these Finals, then bogeyed 17 and trebled the last to finish with a 79. He Tweeted afterwards: “Hurts more every time I look at it!”

There are 25 cards available and Southgate, who was fifth last week, will head into this week’s Tour Championship in 20th spot.

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