Thompson still has nightmares about ANA penalty

Mirim Lee runs away with the LPGA Kia Classic

Lexi Thompson is still haunted by the controversial ruling that cost her last year’s ANA Inspiration title.

Thompson, 23, was leading by three strokes as she headed to the 13th tee of her final round at Mission HIlls when officials told her she had been penalised for an incident a day earlier.

LPGA officials had been alerted to the incident via email midway through the final round.

The Florida native was docked four strokes, two strokes for incorrectly replacing her ball on the 17th green, and another two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

Fighting back the tears, Thompson then birdied the 13th and also the 18th to force a play-off with South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, only to lose at the first extra hole.

Recalling last year’s controversy, Thompson told reporters ahead of Thursday’s tournament: “I had to dig really deep. Honestly, the next tee shot I was crying. Basically, every tee shot there was water in my eyes.

“But the fans were the only reason why I finished the way I did. I heard them chanting my name on every shot, every tee. I heard them on the green chanting my name, and I was like, ‘I have to finish strong for them’.

“That night was extremely rough. I was screaming, crying. You know, I’ve re-lived it for a while. I had nightmares about it. You know, I still occasionally do.

“It’s been rough, but you know the fans were behind me the weeks after, the months after.

“I stayed off social media after that because media was blowing it up and making me feel terrible. So I just tried not to pay attention to any of that. I just hung out with my family, and just kind of stayed to myself, honestly, and just had to let it go and let time pass.”

The incident led to changes in the Rules of Golf which mean a repeat of the incident is impossible, a move Thompson unsurprisingly welcomed.

“I don’t look at myself that I changed the rule,” Thompson added. “I’m just happy that the rule changed so nobody else can be put through what I was put through last year.”