BRADENTON, Fla. – Player of the Year Leona Maguire of Duke found herself in the middle of a rules controversy Tuesday at the NCAA Women’s Championship.
After playing her 10th hole at Concession in the afternoon semifinals, Maguire said she motioned back down the fairway that the hole location was in a different spot on the green than what was shown on the pin sheet.
The rules staff had marked that the cup was 21 paces deep and 10 from the right. It was actually cut 9 on and 7 from the right.
“We just screwed that one up,” NCAA director of rules Jerry Lemieux said later. “We just gave players the wrong paperwork.”
Offering advice to a teammate is considered a rules violation and would result in a loss of hole. That was crucial in this situation, because at the time Maguire was all square in her match against Baylor’s Dylan Kim.
Lemieux approached Maguire in the 13th fairway to discuss the incident, but Maguire said that she was only trying to notify coach Dan Brooks, not teammate Celine Boutier, that the pin sheet was incorrect.
“Clearly not a rules violation,” Lemieux confirmed. “Information on public matters, including the location of where a hole is on the putting green, by definition is not a rules violation.”
Maguire went on to lose the match, 1 down, and Duke was eliminated after a 3-2 defeat.
Later in the day, however, officials were informed that Maguire had made a similar gesture during her morning quarterfinal match against Texas Tech’s Gabby Barker.
Television footage showed that while Maguire was standing in the middle of the seventh green, she looked back down the fairway and, with two hands, appeared to motion like an airport employee guiding a plane out of the gate, a move that seemed to suggest: Hit it here.
Maguire had won the hole with a par en route to a 5-and-4 win.
Hours later, Lemieux asked Brooks about the signal, “and he said he’d like to take care of it with his team,” Lemieux said.
“Even if it were a violation this morning,” he added, “there’s still no penalty for it anyway, because the match has been posted and it’s final. It’s kind of a moot point.”
Lemieux never talked to Maguire about the previous incident, “but I didn’t need to talk to the player,” he said. “Even if it were a rules violation, it doesn’t really make a difference at this point, and so we’ve let it go from that standpoint.”
Brooks, however, huddled with his team, and specifically Maguire, to address the issue.
Maguire wasn’t made available by the school’s media relations department. Brooks described her as “very tearful” about the situation.
“She got swept up,” Brooks said. “She’s not up there trying to do anything secretly.”
Earlier this week, Maguire finished second in the stroke-play portion of the event and received the Annika Award as the nation’s top player.