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Duck Droppings Soil Putting Line

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- A golfer eliminated from a qualifying competition for this year's New Zealand Open has complained to the PGA that he missed a vital putt because of duck droppings on the green.
 
David Hartshorne, a professional based at Lower Hutt in New Zealand's North Island, was eliminated from a pre-qualifying competition when he missed a 35-foot putt on the first hole of a three-way playoff.
 
Hartshorne's request for relief, because there were duck droppings on the line of his putt, was refused by Phil Aickin, the New Zealand Open director and qualifying tournament referee.
 
The golfer has written to the New Zealand PGA asking for Aickin's ruling to be overturned and to be given a place in the final Open qualifying tournament in Auckland beginning Monday.
 
Hartshorne argued droppings were a loose impediment which he could have lifted or brushed aside. Aickin said the droppings had adhered to the green, been baked by the sun and would not have impeded the track of the ball.
 
''Fresh dung will sit there a couple of centimeters high, but once somebody stands on it, it flattens and it gets baked to the green and that was quite simply the situation,'' said Aickin, who is a member at the Shandon club at which the tournament was played.
 
He said Hartshorne had only a one in 20 chance of making the putt from that distance.
 
Hartshorne said he would take the matter to the Australasian PGA Tour Board if his approach to the PGA was turned down.