LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Twitterverse buzz over whether Nasa Hataoka mismarked her ball on the 11th green while in contention Sunday at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions was much ado about nothing.
A tweeted video (that has since been deleted) only partially showed Hataoka marking her ball but made it appear as if she laid her coin in front of her ball, picked up the ball and then returned it in front of the coin, closer to the hole.
According to the LPGA, a tour video rules official watched the entire sequence and could see there was no violation. In fact, Hataoka could be seen marking her ball that way more than once, placing the coin behind the ball, then then moving the ball behind the coin to read the putt before returning the ball to its original position.
Hataoka, Gaby Lopez and Inbee Park played to a tie through regulation, with Hataoka and Lopez remaining tied through five holes before darkness suspended play. Park was eliminated from the playoff after hitting her tee shot into the water at the third playoff hole. The playoff will resume Monday at 8 a.m. at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando.