(Reuters) - South Korean Ahn Sun-ju cost herself the third round lead when she was penalized two strokes for a rules violation at the Women’s British Open on Saturday.
Compatriot Park Inbee unexpectedly became the sole leader after Ahn dug her left foot into soft sand while taking her stance in a greenside bunker at the final hole at Royal Birkdale in Southport.
A player is entitled to place his/her feet firmly in taking a stance, according to the rules, but “must not build a stance”.
Ladies Golf Union officials reviewed video of the incident before invoking the penalty, and Ahn said later that she was unaware of the rule.
“I didn’t know about the rule… All I was trying to do was make a stance,” she told ESPN, speaking through an interpreter.
“It’s my mistake. If that’s the rule, I have to abide by it.”
The ruling turned a 69 into a 71 and relegated Ahn to equal second with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen (68) and China’s Shanshan Feng (69).
Park, who won the first three majors last year, carded a 68 for a four-under 212 total with one round left.
American Stacy Lewis, the world number one and defending champion, was three strokes behind after a 70.
Halfway leader Mo Martin was also three back after bogeying the first two holes on her way to a 77.
Thirteen players were within three strokes of the lead.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, Editing by Gene Cherry)