LPGA Pro Reveals Unusual Reason For Disqualification

Maja Stark has explained her disqualification from the Ascendant LPGA

Maja Stark golf swing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rising star Maja Stark was disqualified before the start of her second round at the Ascendant LPGA last week after mistakenly using a driver during in the opening round that was not yet on the USGA list of conforming driver heads.

Somewhat unfortunately for the Swede, the driver head, believed to be a new Ping model, was officially listed as conforming by the governing body on Monday - after the conclusion of the tournament.

Speaking candidly about the infringement, the 22-year-old said: "I played with a driver that wasn’t on the list of approved drivers yet (but it is conforming to the rules). I got it on Wednesday from a tour rep and hit good shots on the range. There was some miscommunication, which resulted in neither me nor my caddie (who was with me when I tried it out) being aware that we couldn’t use it in competition yet. 

"It’s my responsibility to know that my clubs are alright to use according to the rules, but I didn’t even think of looking it up or asking because I just assumed that the clubs I get will be okay."

Stark opened with a four-over par round of 75 at the Old American Golf Club in Texas and would have been tasked to make the cut. Unfortunately, she was unable to mount a battle as her early exit was confirmed. 

Golf Digest reached out to the LPGA for clarification, who provided the following statement: "After the conclusion of Round One of The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, it was discovered that Maja Stark used a driver throughout her round that was not on the List of Conforming Driver Heads.

"Model Local Rule G-1; List of Conforming Driver Heads is included on the 2022 LPGA Rules of Play Card and is in effect for every competition. The penalty for a breach of this Model Local Rule is disqualification.

"After speaking with the player, the use of the driver to make a stroke during Round One was confirmed, and the penalty of disqualification was applied under Model Local Rule G-1."

Stark burst onto the scene at the 2020 US Women's Open when, as an amateur, finished in a tie for 13th. The Swede has since added five Ladies European Tour victories to her ever growing resume, including the co-sanctioned ISPS Handa World Invitational - securing LPGA Tour playing rights in the process. 

Charley Hull of England captured her first LPGA Tour title in six years at the Ascendant LPGA after a seven-under-par final round of 64 secured a one-shot victory over Xiyu Lin.

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.