Defending Champion Penalized Four Strokes On 1st Hole Of Augusta National Women's Amateur

Anna Davis was given a four stroke penalty after mistakenly playing preferred lies in the rough on the 1st hole of the tournament

Anna Davis holds her finish after hitting a drive
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Anna Davis' Augusta National Women's Amateur title defence got off to the worst possible start when the 17-year-old was penalized four strokes after a rules error on her opening hole.

Update: Anna Davis Misses Augusta National Women's Amateur Cut After Four Stroke Penalty

Davis ultimately began with a nine on the par-4 1st hole at Champions Retreat, host of the first two rounds of the tournament, when she twice mistakenly marked and cleaned her ball in the rough after thinking it was preferred lies everywhere.

The left-hander discovered she may be on for a four stroke penalty on the 4th hole, which she made double bogey on and then dropped a shot on the 5th to fall to eight-over-par (with her four shot penalty).

Despite the nightmare start, Davis rallied back on her last 13 holes with four birdies and nine pars to post a four-over 76. It left her just outside of the top 40 with the leading 30 and ties after 36-holes making it through to Saturday's final round at Augusta National.

"So first shot, hit a little right it's in the rough. I thought we were playing preferred lies all the way around so I mark it, clean it, put it down," Davis explained post-round.

"Hit my second shot into the rough, do the same thing. And then I make a bogey on that hole and then I get to the 4th hole and she tells me that it's only preferred lies in the fairway. So that's basically covered it.

"I was told on the 4th hole that there was a chance I was gonna get a four shot penalty and then you know it just kind of went on from there. I didn't know I was going to get a penalty until I was finished with 18.

"Hole 4 I kind of struggled a little bit because I didn't know if I was going to get a penalty or not. I didn't have a very good hole on four. Just kind of went back and forth mentally, but you know the only thing you can do from there is just have a positive mindset and play the rest of your 14 holes and that's what I did. I just tried to play the next 14 holes as best as I could.

Anna Davis hits her tee shot on the 12th during the 2022 Augusta National Women's Amateur final round

Defending ANWA champion Davis posted an opening round of four-over-par after her four stroke penalty

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"They just wanted to know why I didn't know that it was only in the fairway. Yeah they just wanted to see my perspective of what happened, and they just told me it's obviously on me, that's my responsibility to know that. And then they gave me four shots.

"I felt pretty good with my game the next 14 holes after that. I hit good shots. I just tried to forget that the 1st hole happened. All I can really do is have that give me motivation to do well tomorrow and have a good round tomorrow. I'm playing well so I'm confident that I can do well tomorrow."

Augusta National Women's Amateur tournament HQ:

"During play of her first hole, Anna Davis lifted her ball and failed to replace it on its original spot on two separate occurrences," Chairman of Competition Committees James B Hyler Jr said.

"Under Rule 9.4, Ms Davis has been penalized two strokes for each occurence of playing from a wrong place. Her score on hole 1 will be increased from 5 to 9."

Davis holds the trophy

Davis won by a single stroke last year

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Californian has verbally committed to Auburn University in Alabama and will head there after what can already be classed a successful 2023. In January, she won the Girls Junior Orange Bowl in Florida before triumphing at the prestigious Girls Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in South Carolina earlier this month.

At the age of 16, Davis shot a closing 69 at Augusta National last year to beat Ingrid Lindblad and Latanna Stone by a single stroke.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV