University of Iowa golf team disqualified for rules violation that will make your head spin

October 5, 2018

The University of Iowa men’s golf team was disqualified from the Marquette Intercollegiate event earlier this week at Erin Hills after a rare rules violation left the team without enough golfers to post an official score.

As reported by Golfweek, Iowa freshman Gonzalo Leal was tied for the lead at five under in the second round when he teed off on the 12th hole and hit a shot wide right. Unsure if his ball carried into a hazard, Leal played a provisional. He then strolled the fairway and found what he believed was his provisional ball next to what was he believed to be that of one of his playing partner’s, Northwestern’s Lucas Brecht.

Leal then invoked Rule 3-3, a two-ball rule that permits a golfer to play two balls for two scores and then get an official score after the round. He took a drop as if his first ball landed in a hazard and chose to finish out the hole with both that ball and his provisional ball.

The infraction went down on the 12th hole at Erin Hills.
The infraction went down on the 12th hole at Erin Hills.
USGA/John Mummert

When Leal and Brecht arrived on the green, they discovered that Brecht had hit Leal’s provisional ball and the ball that Leal thought was his provisional was actually his original ball.

Still with us?

Leal had to take a two-shot penalty and redo his second shot. Then the golfers learned that the two balls played by Leal were the ball he dropped and the original ball he thought was in the hazard.

Still with us?

Leal finished out the hole with the first ball, which spurred the violation and disqualified him from the event. Because Leal invoked the two-ball rule for what he thought was his provisional ball and the ball he dropped, the first ball was officially taken out of play and unable to be used again.

The really bad news? Iowa only had four others players in the event (one of their other players withdrew earlier in the round with ), meaning they could not post the required four scores, meaning the squad was DQ’ed.

“I’ve never seen something like this happen before,” Iowa head coach Tyler Stith said. “Not even close.”

Makes two of us, Coach.