Brutal rules infraction ends leading youngster's chances at US Amateur

Bhatia's caddie took a short buggy ride to keep up with pace of play at Pebble Beach, leading to a penalty. 

Brutal rules infraction ends leading youngster's chances at US Amateur

Picture courtesy of USGA

A top amateur prospect, 16, was in the middle of a bizarre rules infraction this week at the US Amateur when his caddie took a short ride in a buggy after a trip to the bathroom.

Local looper Chris Darnell wanted to keep up with the pace of play at Pebble Beach and took a lift from what he thought was a USGA official – rather, it was a volunteer. The rule states: “players and their caddies must walk the course at USGA Championships”.

Both player Akshay Bhatia and his caddie took a break to use the bathroom, but the player walked to the green afterwards rather than hitch a ride.

The infraction meant Bhatia’s birdie on the 14th did not win the hole to go 1 Up, after a penalty led to a half with his opponent making par.

Excruciatingly, the youngster went on to lose the match after 19 holes.

“I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes,” Darnell told the Golf Channel.

“So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

“What can you do?” Bhatia added. “I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it.

“It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

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