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Leader Lexi Thompson hit with 4-stroke penalty day later at ANA Inspiration

Golfweek logo Golfweek 3/04/2017 Beth Ann Nichols

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - APRIL 02: Lexi Thompson plays her second shot on the first hole during the final round of the 2017 ANA Inspiration held on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at the Mission Hills Country Club on April 2, 2017 in Rancho Mirage, California. © Getty Images RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - APRIL 02: Lexi Thompson plays her second shot on the first hole during the final round of the 2017 ANA Inspiration held on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at the Mission Hills Country Club on April 2, 2017 in Rancho Mirage, California. RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - A stunned Lexi Thompson received a four-stroke penalty walking off the 12th green Sunday at the ANA Inspiration. LPGA officials received an email from a viewer about a possible rules infraction during the third round when Thompson was on the seventh hole of Round 4.

Officials deliberated for two hours before informing Thompson that she had replaced her ball an inch away from its original position on a 1-foot putt on the 17th hole Saturday. She received two strokes for that violation plus two more for signing an incorrect scorecard. Her third-round 67 was changed to a 71.

"Oh my God," said Thompson. "This is ridiculous."

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LPGA rules official Sue Witters later said she was 100-percent certain that Thompson did not do it intentionally.

"It was a hard thing to do. To be honest, it made me sick."

The LPGA said she breached USGA Rule 20-7c and Rule 16-1b. She incurred an additional penalty for incorrect scorecards under Rule 6-6d.

In a matter of seconds the tour's top American went from a two-stroke advantage over Suzann Pettersen to a two-stroke deficit.

A teary-eyed Thompson pounded a drive on the 13th tee. Showing incredible mental fortitude, Thompson went on to birdie the hole, while Pettersen bogeyed.

Thompson, winner here in 2014, joined four other players - Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Minjee Lee and Pettersen - in a tie for at 13 under with four to play.

The USGA's proposed rules changes for 2019 would prevent such a thing from happening in the future because of the reasonable judgement standard. Thompson made a reasonable effort to return the ball to its original position.

Some big names in the golf world reacted with shock and anger:

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