Ask the Rules Guy: When your ball lands in a flooded bunker

Ask the Rules Guy, June 2013
Jason Raish
Ask the Rules Guy

SOG DELAY

Hey Rules Guy:
A guy in my group knocked his approach into a waterlogged bunker. I was sure that he had to stay in the bunker, even if it meant dropping closer to the hole. But the others in our group argued he could drop out of the bunker, no closer to the hole, and take a one-stroke penalty. Who was right?
-- Pete Guy, North Chesterfield, Va.

Your friend must find and drop in "maximum available relief," which applies to both lie and stance. According to Decision 25-1b/5, that may mean the ball will be in shallower water than the player's feet after he takes his stance, or vice versa. The other option, as your pals suggested, is to accept a one-stroke penalty and drop outside the bunker, keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and the drop spot.
 

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