Explanation of Rule 18-2 as it applies to the semifinal match in the 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship between Elizabeth Moon and Erica Shepherd

On the 19th hole of the semifinal match between Erica Shepherd and Elizabeth Moon in the 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Boone Valley Golf Club, Erica Shepherd holed out in 5 strokes.

Elizabeth Moon had a short birdie putt to win the hole and the match. She missed her birdie putt and was left with a short putt to halve the hole. She then reached across the hole and pulled her ball away before Shepherd had taken any action to concede the putt.

Shepherd stated immediately afterward that she would have conceded the putt, but at the time Moon moved her ball at rest, Shepherd had yet to concede. By moving her ball in play, Moon incurred a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2. As a result, Moon lost the hole and the match.

While the Local Rule that eliminates the penalty for accidentally moving a ball at rest on the putting green is in effect for the championship, it does not apply in this situation because the movement of the ball was not accidental.

“Today, in a semifinal match of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, Rule 18-2 was applied in response to Elizabeth Moon purposely moving her ball on the 19th green while it was still in play,” said Craig Winter, USGA director of Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “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.”

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