Abraham Ancer finished Thursday at the Masters with a one-over par 73, a solid score on a tough day at Augusta - or so he thought.
After his round was over, rules officials delivered bad news. He was being penalised two strokes for a bunker infraction on the fifteenth hole.
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Instead of the bogey six he signed on his card, he scored a triple-bogey eight.
His previously comfortable 73 is now a perilous three-over 75 that will have him battling the cut line from the opening tee on Friday. The top 50 players and ties make the cut into the weekend at Augusta.
Ancer's three-over is good for a 52nd-place tie after Day 1.
James B. Hyler, chairman of the Masters competition committee, officials reviewed replays of Ancer's bunker shot after he had submitted his card for the round.
"On the 15th hole during Thursday’s first round, Abraham Ancer unknowingly touched the sand before making his third stroke from the greenside bunker," Hyler said.
"After Mr. Ancer had signed his scorecard and exited the scoring area, video evidence was reviewed by the Committee regarding a potential breach of Rule 12.2b(1), which states that touching sand in a bunker right behind the ball results in a penalty."
Ancer tweeted news of the penalty along with video of the infraction Thursday evening. Players are not allowed to touch the sand behind the ball with their club. Doing so could improve their lie.
Here's what drew the two-stroke penalty.
Per the rules, if the infraction isn't visible to the naked eye, it's not deemed a penalty. Ancer apparently was not aware of the alleged violation at the time or when he signed his scorecard.
Hyler ruled that Ancer's violation was, in fact, "visible to the naked eye" in his ruling:
"The touching of the sand was deemed visible to the naked eye. Had this not been the case, the video evidence would have been disregarded and a penalty would not have been applied."
Aussies can win Masters says Greg Norman
Greg Norman believes all five Australians in the field are capable of winning the Masters title he famously let slip 25 years ago.
Norman returned to Augusta National on the eve of the 2021 tournament for a radio commentary position, a quarter-century removed from letting a six-shot lead slip to Nick Faldo in the final round of the 1996 Masters.
The Australian golf legend stopped short of calling any of the quintet title favourites but says Adam Scott, Jason Day, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones all have the talent to create Masters history.
"I wouldn't put winning beyond any of them," Norman told AAP.
"The similarities of this course to what we grew up with around Melbourne shines through. While we have just one Aussie winner in the past we have contended often here at the highest level because of this. Conditions appear pretty hard and fast and that should play into their hands."
Norman singled out Scott, the 2013 champion, and Smith as the most likely.
"I haven't seen Adam's putting stroke yet this week but if he's hitting them well then you can't discount his experience and skill around here," Norman said.
"He sounded confident in what I've seen and read, and that's a good sign.
"And Cameron - I just love his attitude. He's a fighter. I like him this week because the conditions suit him even more than when he was second in November (at last year's moved Masters). He's been putting well and that's always a plus."
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