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Broch Larsen cleared, then penalized, now shares LPGA lead

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THE COLONY, Texas — Nicole Broch Larsen was penalized one shot for causing her ball to move while at rest during the second and final round of the weather-abbreviated Volunteers of America Texas Classic on Saturday, causing her to fall into a five-way tie for the lead.

Broch Larsen played 32 holes Saturday in 6 under after not playing Thursday or Friday. She was tied with Sung Hyun Park, Jenny Shin, Aditi Ashok and Gaby Lopez. Park and Shin had yet to begin their second rounds.

Broch Larsen, a 23-year-old Dane who has never won on the LPGA tour, thought she had finished her day at 7 under for the tournament before she was informed that a video review had found she caused her ball to move on the par-5 fourth hole, her second-to-last hole of the day. The penalty gave her a par on the hole instead of a birdie.

An on-course rules official initially deemed there to be no penalty against Broch Larsen. Because she was following the direction of the official, Broch Larsen did not receive an additional penalty from playing her ball from the wrong place, the LPGA announced late Saturday.

Broch Larsen will finish on Sunday morning. Half the players had yet to begin their second rounds.

Full-field scores from the Volunteers of America Texas Classic

Thursday’s play was canceled, and rain delayed the start on Friday by 8 ½ hours, resulting in the tournament being reduced from 72 holes to 36. There was no cut, but only the top 70 and ties in the 144-woman field will receive prize money.

Park and Shin led after the first round at 6-under 66 and were to play their second rounds on Sunday. Ashok was 6 under through 14 holes of her second round, and Lopez was 6 under through 11.

Park, last year’s U.S. Women’s Open champion and the top-ranked player in the field at No. 5, had seven birdies and one bogey at the 6,475-yard Old American Golf Club, which is hosting the event for the first time. She was 6 under when play was halted on Friday and parred her remaining four holes on Saturday.

Shin, also from South Korea, was 4 under through 14 on Friday. On Saturday, she birdied the par-3 seventh and the par-4 ninth. Shin’s only career LPGA Tour win was two years ago at this tournament’s previous home, Las Colinas Country Club in Irving.

“I’m really happy, despite all the waiting,” Shin said. “I think we actually got the better end of the wave. Yesterday’s conditions were absolutely flawless. There was no wind. And they set up the golf course, you know, as if it was prepared for a 30-mile-per-hour wind, so it was much easier than what we expected. And I had a bogey-free round, so it’s been really good.”

After heavy rains and gusty wind Thursday and Friday, Saturday featured bright sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s.

Ashok, a 20-year-old from India, collected five birdies and a bogey in her final eight holes on Saturday. She tied for seventh last week at Lake Merced, her best LPGA finish.

Ashok’s final shot of the day was an 11-foot birdie putt after the horn had sounded to end play. Players had the option of finishing the hole they had started or stopping and continuing from the same spot Sunday morning. There was no question in Ashok’s mind that she would continue.

“I felt like I was putting it good,” she said. “I felt like I wouldn’t want to make that putt in the morning having no feel to go by.