TRINITY, Texas – Call it patriotic penalty strokes.
Team USA’s Sam Bennett, a senior at Texas A&M, was playing the first hole of the final round of the Spirit International Amateur Championship at Whispering Pines Golf Club when he reached into his golf bag and noticed something was wrong. There was a 58-degree Ping sand wedge that he didn’t recognize.
“I was like, ‘Oh, crap!” Bennett said.
It turned out that it belonged to his teammate Rachel Heck. That gave him 15 clubs in his bag a violation of Rule 4.1b, which limits the number of clubs a player can carry to 14. The penalty is two strokes per hole and applies based on when the player became aware of the breach.
When he made the discovery, Bennett turned to his teammate James Piot and asked, “What I do? This club’s in my bag.” Bennett noted that Piot told him, “There’s nothing you can do about it. Just tell the rules official.”
Team USA assistant captain Alli Jarrett returned the wedge to Heck, who was playing in the group behind the American men. It’s unclear which player accidentally place the club in Bennett’s bag, but regardless, neither Heck nor Bennett counted their clubs before they teed off. Having a 15th club was something he’d never done before, and likely never will do again.
According to Team USA captain Stacy Lewis, Heck figures she leaned her club against Bennett’s bag when she applied stars and stripes temporary tattoos to the cheeks of her male teammates, Bennett and…