A caddie sent his player packing from the US Amateur on Thursday after he touched the sand on the 18th hole at Bandon Dunes.
With the match A/S up the final hole between Segundo Oliva Pinto and Tyler Strafaci, it was ultimately the actions of Oliva Pinto's local caddie that handed the Round of 16 match to Strafaci.
Crushing way to lose for Segundo Oliva Pinto, who was unaware of his caddie’s actions: “I ask my caddie what happened, and I’m completely shocked. I’m just trying to make an up-and-down and win the match.” pic.twitter.com/ymReOOi9vL— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) August 14, 2020
Oliva Pinto automatically lost the 18th hole when it came to light that his caddie had bent down and rubbed his hand over the sand in the back of the bunker, and it was an infraction of Rule 12.2b.
This rule, which names restrictions on touching the sand in a bunker, a golfer may not deliberately touch sand in the bunker with their hand, club, rake or any other object in an effort to test the condition of the sand and therefore learn information for the next stroke.
In strokeplay, this would be deemed as a two-stroke penalty, but in matchplay, it is a loss of hole.
It might not have been Oliva Pinto that touched the sand, but it does not matter as his caddie is deemed part of his "team". Rule 10.3c states that the player is responsible for his caddie’s actions and any rule breach during the round.
"As soon as I get there, the referee comes up and asks my caddie what happened," Oliva Pinto told Golf Channel. "I’m completely shocked, I’m just trying to get this shot, make an up and down and win the match.
"Apparently he touched the sand or something. That’s a penalty, it’s a hole so the match ended there."
Strafaci told Golf Channel: "I was reading my putt over there and I saw the caddie go down and put his hand down, I didn’t see it touch the sand or what. My dad saw it and I guess a couple other people saw it. I just feel so bad for him. That was one of the best matches I’ve ever played, back and forth."
The US Amateur will conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday.