Natthakritta Vongtaveelap’s first experience at the US Women’s Open has been cut short.
The 20-year-old Thai rising star was disqualified in the first round after her caddy used a rangefinder on multiple holes at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Rangefinders are allowed at most LPGA events – and during practice tours and recreational play – although the US Open is run by the USGA.
“During the first round, on multiple occasions, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap used a distance meter, which is not permitted at the US Women’s Open,” the league said in a statement. “The first breach is a general penalty, and the second resulted in disqualification.”
Vongtaleep was on par by five holes Thursday after missing the cut at the Women’s PGA Championship last week.
She is far from the first golfer to succumb to the rangefinder error.
Zach Williams got a Memorial Health Championship DQ on the Korn Ferry Tour last week after he used a distance timer, which is not allowed on the men’s developmental tour.
“I should have known, and [sic] tweeted Williams, a first-year pro, totally at my expense. “It’s hard to swallow but you have to. I will be back in no time.”
The same can probably be said of Vongtaveelap, who was runner-up in the Honda LPGA Thailand Championship and tied for sixth in the LOTTE Championship, despite only making one cut in her last five starts.
Xiyu Lin and Hyo Joo Kim entered day two of the US Women’s Open tied for first at 4-under 68, with amateur Aine Donegan – also making her tournament debut – among a slew of players to appear on one of the leaderboards.
“The whole thing was a little surreal to be honest,” said Donegan, who is ranked 144th in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. “About every five minutes, it feels like a tightrope. Even just walking to the greens place and little girls asking for autographs and stuff. It’s like, that was me. And to do that in a place like Pebble Beach is something I will never forget.”