Gian-Marco Petrozzi went on a blistering tear during the final round of Stage 2 of European Tour Q-School, but a costly rules infraction on his last hole erased his spot in the final stage.
The 21-year-old Englishman didn’t find out about the infraction until 20 minutes after his round.
Petrozzi made an ace on the 17th hole, his eighth of the day, and then closed his round with birdies on five of his last six to shoot 65 at Las Colinas in Alicante, Spain, on Monday. That was good enough to put him in a playoff for an alternate spot at the final stage, which would get him one step closer to the European Tour. (He made his first European Tour start as a pro at the Portugal Masters in September, tying for 63rd.)
But not long after his round ended he was told his score was changing from six under to four under, as he was penalized two strokes for a rules breach on the 9th hole, his last of the day.
Petrozzi was walking off the yardage for his approach on the 9th, and he walked through a bunker for an accurate reading. He then raked the bunker — that sportsmanship ultimately cost him — before walking to his ball, which was not in the sand, and hitting over the trap and onto the green.
Unfortunately for Petrozzi, raking the sand was an example of improving his line of play, a breach of Rule 13-2.
Rule 13-2, which covers improving a lie, area of intended stance or swing, or line of play, states that a player must not improve or allow to be improved his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole.
“Tough lesson learned today in the last round of Q School stage 2,” Petrozzi wrote on Twitter on Monday. “…I wasn’t aware that I was making this mistake.”
Petrozzi’s 67 dropped him into a tie for 32nd. He was at one of four Stage 2 sites, and the top 95, along with 61 other exempt players, advanced to the final stage Nov. 10-15.