Fassi angered by 2-shot penalty for slow play at Women's PGA

Maria Fassi, of Mexico, hits from the ninth tee during the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Johns Creek, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (John Bazemore, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Maria Fassi thought she had atoned for a double bogey start at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. She birdied the 18th hole and headed to front nine at even par for the round.

And then that birdied turned into a bogey.

Fassi was penalized two shots when a rules official informed her she had taken 50 seconds for her second shot into the par 5 over water, 20 seconds more than she was allowed.

Fassi was furious, and that was before she realized it caused her to miss the cut.

Two birdies late in the second round by Lauren Kim moved the cut to 2-over 146, knocking out Fassi and 13 other players from the weekend.

The former NCAA champion from Mexico concedes there are limits and she went over them. Even so, Fassi wishes common sense would go along with a stopwatch.

“I'm not a slow player," she said. “I went for it in two. Like, it's not an easy decision. There's a lot going on. The wind was changing. I was in between clubs. It wasn't a stock number, that it was a no-brainer. So I did take more time on the second shot, but I told the rules official that there has to be some common sense that I don't think existed on this occasion."

It was the third time this year for a pace-of-play penalty or fine on the LPGA Tour.

Last month in Las Vegas, Carlota Ciganda of Spain was penalized on the final hole and lost her opening match in the LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek. Yealimi Noh was fined $10,000 at the Kia Classic in March for a cumulative violation that dated to 2020.

Fassi, without saying whether it was In Gee Chun of South Korea or Ayako Uehara of Japan, said one of the players was slow. They were put on the clock a few holes before the violation.

One of the game's power players, Fassi had 167 yards to cover the water fronting the 18th green, and she said going long in the back bunker was not a good play.

“The wind should have been helping, but it didn't feel like it was helping,” Fassi said. She hits her 6-iron 183 and her 7-iron 172 yards, and “it had to be a perfect 7 to get there.”

“I think — and every other LPGA player will tell you — we know who the slow ones are. Everybody knows it. The rules officials know it. And I'm not one of them,” Fassi said. “So this time around, I guess it was me. Like I said before, the time is there, and I did take longer. But I just don't think I deserved it.”

She said it rattled her to the point of tears going down the first hole. Fassi had two bogeys over her last three holes, shot 77 and missed the cut.

“I guess it’s a lesson learned,” she said. “It won’t happen again, that’s for sure.”