Abraham Ancer is on the wrong side of the cutline heading into Round 2 at the Masters Tournament on Friday, and he didn’t even know it until after his opening round was over.
Ancer completed his first round at the Masters thinking he had scored a 1-over-par 73, which placed him tied for 20th heading into the second round. But, after he had completed and turned in his scorecard, officials at Augusta National Golf Club assessed him a two-stroke penalty for a controversial violation on Hole 15.
James B. Hyler, chairman of the Masters competition committee, said in a statement that officials reviewed video evidence and saw that Ancer grazed the sand before striking the ball in the Hole 15 bunker. The review and penalty came after Ancer had completed his first round.
“On the 15th hole during Thursday’s first round, Abraham Ancer unknowingly touched the sand before making his third stroke from the greenside bunker. After Mr. Ancer had signed his scorecard and exited the scoring area, video evidence was reviewed by the committee regarding a potential breach of Rule 12.2b(1), which states that touching sand in a bunker right behind the ball results in a penalty.”
The ruling changed Ancer’s initial score from a bogey to a triple bogey on the par-5 hole. Ancer said he was “gutted” at the decision, tweeting a video of the violation.
I was just informed that I have been assessed a 2 stroke penalty for unintentionally grazing the sand in my backswing on hole 15. While I’m gutted, I can’t wait to get after it tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/5ZOlthQzeE
— Abraham Ancer (@Abraham_Ancer) April 9, 2021
Curiously, Hyler said the rules committee only decided to assess Ancer the penalty because his violation could be seen “with the naked eye.” Had that not been the case, the penalty would have been disregarded. Whether Ancer’s violation falls under that category is certainly subject to debate, especially when it has such a huge impact on whether he’ll make the weekend cut.
Regardless, Ancer’s score dropped to three-over par 75, tying him for 56th and putting him dangerously close to the cut line (projected at 2 over par).