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Penalty for cart ride to restroom cuts Northwestern's lead

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Northwestern could have an even bigger lead at the NCAA Women’s Championship if not for a careless mistake by one of its players.

Sarah Cho received a two-shot penalty during the second round of stroke-play qualifying Sunday for taking a cart ride to the bathroom. That turned her 1-over 73 into a 75, and it cut the Wildcats’ lead from 10 shots to eight.

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Another player in the group, Kelly Nielsen of Kent State, also was slapped with a two-shot penalty for the same infraction, but her score of 81 was dropped in the play-five, count-four format. The Golden Flashes are in second place.

Every player in the field is informed of the transportation policy – a player “must not ride on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized” – which is in effect all season.  

“Of course I feel really bad,” Cho told Golfweek, “because it’s a dumb two-stroke penalty, something I could have controlled.”

Though the penalty is unlikely to derail the Wildcats’ bid for match play – they are 20 shots clear of the top-8 cut line – it could affect whether they claim the No. 1 overall seed after Monday’s final round.