Carlota Ciganda and Sarah Schmelzel were all square coming into the 18th hole of the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play event on Wednesday. Ciganda won the hole but lost the match due to a slow-play penalty that resulted in loss of hole. Schmelzel won, 1 up.
The LPGA released the following statement:
“On the 18th hole of her Day One match, Carlota Ciganda was assessed a loss-of-hole penalty for a breach of the LPGA’s Match Play Pace of Play Policy. Per the policy, a player is subject to penalty if she exceeds the allotted time for her total strokes taken on a hole by more than 10 seconds, averaging 30 seconds per shot. Ciganda exceeded the allotted time for the number of strokes taken on the 18th hole.”
Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play: Leaderboard
Ciganda did not comment after the round.
This isn’t the first slow-play stunner of the LPGA season. Yealimi Noh tied for 61st at the Kia Classic and took home a $4,247 paycheck. But she actually lost money on the week after a $10,000 slow-play fine.
Noh said a rules official showed up mid-way through the front nine and hung around for nine holes. The rookie received bad times on Nos. 10 and 12.
This week’s event at Shadow Creek is the first match play tournament on the LPGA schedule since 2017. Nine years ago at the Sybase Match Play Championship, Morgan Pressel was hit with a slow-play penalty in a semifinal match against Azahara Munoz that cut her lead from 3 holes to 1 hole with six to play.
The semifinal round took an even more awkward twist when Pressel accused Munoz of touching the line of her putt with her putter on the 15th hole. Rules officials determined that the video footage was inconclusive and, after a lengthy delay, Munoz rolled in her birdie putt to win the hole and square the match,
Pressel maintained that Munoz, who went on to win Sybase title, was the one who put them on the clock.
“I think that what bothers me the most is that we were given sufficient warning, and she really didn’t do anything to speed up,” Pressel said at the time. “And then I was penalized for it.”