JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – As Maria Fassi made the turn at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she was informed that she had incurred a two-stroke penalty for slow play. The infraction occurred on the par-5 18th hole (her ninth) at Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course, and a rules officials approached her shortly before she teed off on the first.
Fassi, who is playing on a sponsor exemption, was so fired up that she cried down the hole. The former NCAA champ said she found it difficult to keep her head in the game after that.
“One of the players in our group was pretty slow,” said Fassi. “I’m not going to be pointing fingers; I did go over time. I guess that’s the penalty.”
Fassi, 23, tried to contest it after the round, but said that a rules official told her that she took 50 seconds on her second shot, which is 20 more than allowed.
Fassi had 180 yards left for her second shot into the closing par 5 and 167 to cover the water.
“The wind should’ve been helping,” she said, “but it didn’t feel like it was helping. I hit my 6-iron 183, my 7-iron 172. We didn’t know what to hit, because they had to be a perfect 7 for it to get there. The six could’ve been too much, and bunker long wasn’t good.
“It was just the perfect in-between number for me with those circumstances.”
Fassi, who shot 77 and is 3 over for the tournament (currently inside the cut line), was in breach of Rule 5.6 while being timed by a member of the Rules Committee.
“Every other LPGA player will tell you, we know who the slow ones are,” said Fassi, “everybody knows it. The rules officials know it, and I’m not one of them. This time around I guess it was me … I just don’t think that I deserved it.”