So Yeon Ryu hits on the third course tee box during the final round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC. Pix by Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

CALIFORNIA: Lexi Thompson was denied a major victory in the cruellest of fashions at the ANA Inspiration on Sunday after she was hit with a four-stroke penalty with six holes left, then lost to South Korean Ryu So-yeon in a sudden death playoff for the title.

Thompson was leading by three when was informed of a rule breach stemming from the way she replaced her ball on the 17th green during Saturday’s third round.

She incurred a two-shot penalty for the breach and another two-shot penalty for returning an incorrect scorecard.

The LPGA said in a statement that a television viewer had alerted them to the infraction on Sunday and that after a review they had informed Thompson of the breach.

“Is this a joke? Oh my God. Four-stroke penalty, that’s just ridiculous,” Thompson said when notified of the penalty.

The American gathered herself and actually birdied the 13th. She then had an eagle putt on the last to win in regulation but had to settle for a birdie and a playoff with Ryu.

Ryu then birdied the 18th, the first playoff hole, to win the title. --REUTERS

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