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Pro's happy ending after cruel 72nd-hole lipout goes bad with rules violation, penalty stroke

October 17, 2021

The beneficiary of a special exemption into the CJ Cup thanks to his win at the 2021 Japan PGA Championship, South Korea’s Seonghyeon Kim was playing in only his second PGA Tour event this week. And yet, the 23-year-old looked nothing like a nervous newcomer after shooting a Friday 63 at The Summit Club to move near the top of the leader board. A Saturday 72 put a victory out of his sights, but a solid Sunday would help him gain confidence and earn a nice payday.

And it was, for the most part, a solid Sunday for Kim, although it wasn’t without some mild drama on the final hole. Standing over a 3½-footer for birdie that would give him a four-under 68 to finish at 17 under for the tournament, Kim was the victim of a vicious lipout.

Or at least he appeared to be. Naturally Kim waited to see if his ball, hanging on the lip, might still fall in for the birdie. And sure enough it eventually did, as this replay shows.

Woo … fun moment for Kim. But only briefly. As the replay also shows, a generous amount of time went by before the ball finally dropped in the cup. As it turns out, too much time.

PGA Tour rules officials decided that Kim had taken longer than “a reasonable amount of time plus 10 seconds” allowed in the Rules of Golf. Under Rule 13.3 (a), he was assessed a one-stroke penalty, turning his birdie into a par, and his final-round 68 into a 69.

The decision wasn’t without a financial penalty, too. There was an almost $20,000 difference in prize money had Kim been at 17 under rather than falling to 16 under.