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Oh dear! Top amateur stung with penalty during US Open third round

Masters low amateur Neal Shipley was hit with a penalty according to Rule 9.4 during the third round of the US Open…

 

Top amateur golfer Neal Shipley was hit with a one-shot penalty for causing his ball to move at the US Open.

According to a USGA statement given to NCG, Shipley’s second shot on hole 13 at Pinehurst came to rest on the upslope short of the green during the third round on Saturday.

“In preparing to make the stroke, Neal set the club down behind the ball and then adjusted the club when the ball then moved,” the statement read. “Because the ball had been at rest for some time and then moved immediately after he adjusted his club, it is virtually certain that he caused the ball to move.

“Shipley got one penalty stroke under Rule 9.4 and replaced the ball on the original spot.”

Shipley, who lost in the final of the US Amateur Championship in 2023, scored a double-bogey as a result of the penalty. He shot a 71 to finish on 4-over-par, neck and neck with fellow amateur Luke Clanton as the race to be the lowest amateur at the third major of the year heats up.

neal shipley

(All images courtesy of the USGA)

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Neal Shipley rules penalty dents chances of being US Open low amateur

Rule 9.4 applies only when it is known or virtually certain that the player’s actions, or their caddie’s actions, have caused the ball to move. You can read more about the rule and its exceptions here.

“It was a shame really. Neal hit a great drive. The pin’s in a real tricky position there with it being front right,” Aaron Rai said, Shipley’s playing partner. “Hit a wedge shot, which looked good. Just spun back off the front of the green.

“He went to play his third shot. Took the necessary precautions to have his club further back behind the ball. Felt the lie was a little bit sketchy where the ball could move. Unfortunately, it did move back.

“Personally, I don’t feel he caused the ball to move. I don’t think it should have been a one-shot penalty. But the USGA officials deemed it to be that way. Unfortunate really.”

The 23-year-old was the low amateur at the Masters in April having played in the final round with Tiger Woods. He is a fifth-year graduate student at Ohio State University and won the Southwestern Invitational in his final year.

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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