Pros advice

Bathroom break incurs two-stroke penalty at NCAA Women's Championship

You know the old saying: ‘When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go!’ However, if you’re a golfer playing in a tournament, don’t use a golf cart to get there…

That’s the lesson learned by Northwestern’s Sarah Cho and Kent State’s Kelly Nielsen, who hopped on a golf cart during a weather-delayed second round of the NCAA Women’s Championship on Sunday at Rich Harvest Farms, earning themselves two-stroke penalties for using the bathroom.

Of course, the penalties are technically for the method in which they got to the bathroom rather than the act of using the bathroom itself. Under the conditions of competition for the championship, players are mandated that they “must not ride on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorised.”

Players have been given authorisation to take carts to speed up play on the long walks from the third to the fourth tee, ninth to the 10th tee, and 11th to the 12th tee. However, Cho was not given permission to jump into a cart to visit the ladies room after finishing up the 18th hole to avoid delaying her group from teeing off on the first hole.

And, when Nielsen got a ride from a Kent State staffer to find the facilities coming off the 13th green, she too had breached the rules.

“I pretty much knew all day long we were two shots higher [than the scoreboard showed],” said Northwestern coach Emily Fletcher. However, Fletcher decided to hold off telling Cho of the mistake until after the round, so as not to throw her game off.

Northwestern still remained in the lead as a team after 36 holes despite the penalty.

Long story short, golfers have another reason to be careful when "taking relief" on the course.

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