This was not how Doris Chen -- who won the 2014 NCAAs at Tulsa Country Club -- wanted to make more news. Chen was playing in the LPGA's eight-round Q-School event last week at Pinehurst and was through six rounds of it before she got disqualified.
Chen hit a ball out of bounds on the 17th hole of her sixth round but then played it in bounds after it mysteriously appeared. She was apparently told the ball had been moved, but played it anyway and finished out her round (she shot 77). This violates Rule 15-3b, which states the following:
If a competitor makes a stroke or strokes at a wrong ball, he incurs a penalty of two strokes. The competitor must correct his mistake by playing the correct ball or by proceeding under the Rules. If he fails to correct his mistake before making a stroke on the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the round, fails to declare his intention to correct his mistake before leaving the putting green, he is disqualified.
As it turns out, Chen's mother is actually the one who put the ball back in play for her daughter, according to GolfChannel.com. This is obviously a bad look and an unfortunate situation for somebody trying to make it onto the LPGA Tour. The LPGA also released a statement.
"Doris Chen's drive on the 17th hole in round 7 came to rest out of bounds," the LPGA said in a statement. "An outside agency moved her ball back in bounds. Ms. Chen and her caddie were made aware that the ball had been moved. Doris elected to play the ball, which was a wrong ball by definition, from its altered lie. Ms. Chen did not correct her error before teeing off on the next hole, thus resulting in the DQ penalty."
Chen released a statement of her own on Twitter this week calling the entire thing a "misunderstanding" and saying it was not her "intention for it to happen in any way."
"I did not have any direct involvement, nor was it my intention for it to happen. It was a stressful week and I did my best in terms of resolving it at the moment. Unfortunately, I did not have the best judgement at the moment and this resulted a ruling. It was my responsibility as a player to call for a rules official at the time to investigate, whether the event to be true or mistaken. However I thought I knew the rules clearly. I have to firmly clarify that my caddie, the volunteer nor I at the time who were searching for the ball saw anything of suspicious (sic). I did not hear or see anything, nor did I do anything that would interfere. I found the ball and hit it.
"With this I regret that I could not do anything of help. However, I've learned from this lesson and decided to move on."
Chen was 14 over through six rounds, which ended up being four back of the number that eventually made it through to earn LPGA Tour status for next season.