It was the first round of the US Women’s Open in Natthakritta Vongtaveelap’s career, but it ended after just five holes after her caddy’s gross mistake led to her disqualification from the tournament at Pebble Beach.
The 20-year-old’s caddy was seen using a rangefinder, which is prohibited at the US Open.
USGA rules officer Kathryn Belanger said her caddy used the rangefinder «at least a couple of times», leading to a disqualification. If it was once, the penalty would have been two shots from Vongtaveelap’s total score for the round.
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Rangefinders are not allowed on the PGA Tour during tournament rounds, but most LPGA Tour events have allowed them since 2021. However, the US Open remains a no-go tournament for golfers.
At the time of the disqualification, Vongtaveelap was even.
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The Vongtaveelap caddy isn’t the only one to learn about the rangefinder rule, as the Korn Ferry Tour, the level just before the PGA Tour, saw Zach Williams get disqualified after using his rangefinder on multiple occasions.
Williams had qualified for the Memorial Health Championship, and that qualifier allowed rangefinders. However, the tournament itself did not, as the Korn Ferry Tour bans them.
Vongtaveelap got off to a strong start to her LPGA Tour career, as she was runner-up at the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament and finished tied for sixth at the LOTTE Championship.
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However, she has been back down to earth since the start of the season, as the Thai golfer made just one cut in her last five starts.