Golf dreams dashed: Thailand’s rising star disqualified from US Women’s Open after 5-hole fiasco

Picture courtesy of IPGA.

Thailand‘s Natthakritta Vongtaveelap endured a brief appearance at the US Women’s Open after the precocious golf star was disqualified after completing just five holes. The disqualification yesterday came as a result of her caddie using a rangefinder, which violated the local golf rule implemented for the championship, prohibiting the use of distance-measuring devices.

While a single breach would have incurred a two-shot penalty for the professional golfer, a second violation led to her disqualification. At the time, the 20 year old was even-par.

The caddie’s potential confusion could be attributed to the allowance of distance-measuring devices in LPGA Tour events. Moreover, players were permitted to use them in the Chevron Championship and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the first two women’s majors of the year.

Starting in 2021, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, in collaboration with Voice Caddie, provided each player with a rangefinder featuring a special competition mode solely for measuring distances.

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Notably, the only two majors that prohibit the use of rangefinders are the US Women’s Open and the AIG Women’s Open, reported Golf Digest.

Natthakritta began her rookie season on a promising note, with strong performances in her first two starts. She secured a runner-up position at the Honda LPGA Thailand and achieved a top six finish at the LOTTE Championship. However, her form has declined since then, making the cut in only one out of her five subsequent starts, including missing the weekend at the two majors this year. She was at an even-par score at Pebble Beach before being disqualified.

In May 2022, the Bangkok-born Natthakritta represented Thailand at the 2021 Southeast Asian Games and won two gold medals.

Interestingly, a similar ruling occurred the previous week on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Zach Williams, a recent college graduate from Southern Indiana, successfully qualified for the Memorial Health Championship, where rangefinders were permitted. Unfortunately, his use of a rangefinder during the first two rounds led to his disqualification, as their usage is prohibited in Korn Ferry Tour events.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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