Frustration got the best of South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace on Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The 37-year-old LPGA veteran was forced to make an early exit from Kemper Lakes Golf Club outside of Chicago after taking a disqualification mid-round for playing with a non-conforming sand wedge.
Mind you, the club was conforming before Pace started playing her second round in a tie for 51st, having posted an even-par 72 on Thursday. But on the eighth hole of her second round, she hit a poor shot with the wedge that upset her and caused her to slam the club into a nearby stake. Unaware that she had actually damaged the club at the hosel, Pace hit another shot with the wedge on the hole, and continued with her round.
Subsequently, on the 14th hole, Pace pulled the wedge out again and took another stroke with it. When the ball reacted oddly, she looked more closely at the club and noticed the hosel didn’t look right.
At this point Pace, a nine-time winner on the Ladies European Tour whose lone LPGA win came in 2014, called in an official to discuss what happened. Not long into the conversation, Rule 4-3b came up, which clearly states that a club damaged during a stipulated round other than in the normal course of play cannot be subsequently used or replaced. The penalty for breaking the rules is swift and severe: disqualification.
According to a release from the PGA of America, the official told Pace she could continue to play the round and let the committee look at the club afterward. However, Pace understood what their ultimate decision would likely be and chose to stop playing.
Two weeks ago, Pace held a share of the lead at the Meijer LPGA Classic only to shoot a final-round 73 to finish T-4, easily her best finish of the 2018 season.