Hall-of-Famer JoAnne Carner, suddenly realizing she had broken a rule in the first round Thursday, disqualified herself from the LPGA Championship yesterday after completing a second-round 68.
Carner learned of her infraction when officials were involved in a discussion with Carner's second-round playing partner, Colleen Walker, who violated the same rule on the seventh green yesterday.
As Walker grounded her putter behind the ball, the ball moved slightly. That's a one-stroke penalty, but she did not realize she had to place the ball in its original spot. Instead, Walker played the ball from its new position, resulting in a total penalty of two strokes. Officials discussed the situation with Walker after she had called for a ruling before she signed her scorecard.
Carner got involved in the discussion in the scoring tent and announced to officials that she had the same situation on the 12th green in her opening round of 75. She too penalized herself one stroke instead of two.
As a result, Carner had signed an incorrect scorecard, resulting in disqualification.
Suzanne Jackson, tournament director for the LPGA Tour, pointed out that both players noticed the infractions themselves. "Golf is a game of honor. Once the players realized that they had misunderstood the rule, they corrected the situations."
This infraction happens "three or four times a year. I feel that it is one of the most confusing rules of golf. Obviously, both are unhappy, but both knew that the rulings were correct. Nobody is complaining or pointing fingers. They didn't undertsand the rule."
Carner had vaulted into contention with her 68, one of yesterday's best rounds. "She was just mad at herself," said an LPGA official.
Despite her second-round 75 that included the two penalty strokes, Walker remains in contention at 144.
Defending champion Nancy Lopez, in danger of missing the cut after opening with 78, made an eagle and shot 1-under 70 yesterday and is safely in the fold for the final two rounds.
Lopez faltered on the greens Thursday and after the round practiced putting until dark. "I putted a lot better today," said Lopez, a three-time winner of this event. "I hit some good shots today and made a few putts I haven't been making. It's all putting. Putting has always been the name of the game. It's a good course, You have to hit the shots."
Lopez made eagle-3 on the 12th, with a driver, a 5-wood to 30 feet and a pitching wedge.
Rockville native Michelle Mackall shot 76 yesterday for a 36-hole total of 155 and missed the cut. Mackall, 30, a rookie now living in Orlando, Fla., dug herself a hole with an opening-round 79. She needed a good round yesterday and played the front nine in 1-over 36 before shooting herself out of it with 40 on the final nine. . . .
Baltimore's Tina Barrett added a 73 to a 74 and safetly made the cut. "I'm getting there. That's a little better," said Barrett, who said she has not been playing well lately. She has earned $15,528 this season after winning $39,776 last year as a rookie, when she won the Ocean State Open. . . .
Cindy Mackey had a hole-in-one on the lake-guarded, par-3 eighth hole (her next to last) yesterday. That helped her finish 77 -- 148, making the 150 cut. Had Mackey aced the 16th hole, she would have won a car.