US Girls' Junior semifinal ends with controversial tap-in putt

Ruben Hill
July 29, 2017

Shepherd missed a lengthy putt for birdie and Moon conceded her short par putt.

Erica Shepherd and Elizabeth Moon were playing for a spot in the U.S. Girls' Junior finals at the Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo.

"When I hear that the ball doesn't drop, I finally open my eyes and she's already, like, dragging the ball back", Shepherd was reported to have said after the match.

Erica Shepherd advanced to the finals of the U.S. Girls' Junior on Friday, but not without some controversy.

In most match play situations where the hole will be halved if one player makes an easy putt, the opposing player will wave off the need for the putt.

Shepherd believed that because she meant to concede the putt, the match would continue as normal. The rules official then got involved, and even though Shepherd said she would have conceded it if she had had time before Moon raked it back, the damage was done. "So I kind of turned away, and then I stood there and looked around". But that wasn't the case.

The end result was Moon, 17, was assessed a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2, therefore turning it into a loss of hole that ended the match and sent Shepherd into today's championship against Jennifer Chang of Cary, N.C. The head-to-head match had gone to extra holes, and on the 19th hole, Shepherd made par.

The scene was reminiscent of the 2015 Solheim Cup when Suzann Pettersen said Alison Lee picked up a putt that had not been conceded.

"While we are sympathetic to both players, and no one wants to see a match end in this fashion, the Rules are clear in this particular situation", said Craig Winter, USGA director of Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. Chang, meanwhile, defeated Calista Reyes of San Diego, 4 and 2, in a quarterfinal before topping Taylor Roberts of Parkland, Fla., 5 and 4 in the other semifinal.

"I feel terrible and I feel like I lost and I want to cry", Shepherd said. "But I sure feel bad for Elizabeth, what happened on that hole".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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