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Pace of play again under spotlight at Valero

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The final group of Steven Bowditch, Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe needed 5 hours, 32 minutes to play the final round of the Valero Texas Open on Sunday.

They were put on the clock. Loupe received a bad time. And they played in a combined 10 over par.

Yes, TPC San Antonio played nearly 7,500 yards and the wind blew 20 mph and there was a Masters berth, among other things, at stake. But those howls over the Tour’s sluggish pace of play continue to grow louder still. 

Social media was abuzz Sunday as the action seemingly came to a halt during the final round. The player most under the microscope this week was Loupe, a 25-year-old LSU product. His methodical pre-shot routine drew the attention of both fans and NBC Sports announcers.   

“If everyone on Tour played like him,” Johnny Miller said of Loupe on Saturday, “I would stop commentating.”

Since the circuit underwent changes to its pace of play policy in 2003, no player has been penalized in a Tour event. The last player to receive a one-shot penalty on Tour is Glen Day in 1995.

A group can be put on the clock when it is deemed to be out of position. When timed, a player has either 40 or 60 seconds depending on his turn. One bad time results in a warning. A second bad time means a one-shot penalty. 

The final group was notified that it was back in position – and off the clock – midway through the closing nine holes. No player received a penalty.