CARMEL, Ind. – Graeme McDowell shot an opening-round 68 Thursday at the BMW Championship and he wasn’t too happy.
After holing out for eagle 2 on the par-4 eighth hole at Crooked Stick, McDowell was looking to close with birdie on the par-5 ninth hole (his last hole of the day) sitting in the middle of the fairway only 240 yards from the green.
He pushed his approach into the right greenside bunker and it came to rest in front of a small branch with a leaf attached. When McDowell went to address the ball he lightly brushed the leaf, which is a two-shot penalty for touching a loose impediment.
'The second that I grazed it, we (caddie) both knew perhaps we might be in trouble,' McDowell said.
He got up and down from the bunker, but instead of making birdie, it went on the scorecard as bogey.
“Despite the fact that nothing has moved, the lie hasn’t improved, I just didn’t give the branch enough respect,” McDowell said. “I’ve never seen that scenario before. It’s a tough lesson.”
McDowell made four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys for his 68. He’s tied for 16th place through the first round.