Thompson led by three strokes with six pits left when informed of penalty, which was prompted when a TV viewer emailed over incorrect ball placement

Lexi Thompson receives an four-stroke penalty with six pits to play in the final round of the first womens major of the year for making an incorrect ball placement one day earlier.

The extraordinary delayed penalty knocked the American golfer out of the leading at the ANA Inspiration tournament in Rancho Mirage, California.

After collecting her calmnes when her three-shot lead vanished, the 22 -year-old rallied to card a closing five-under 67 and tie at 14 -under 274 with South Koreas So Yeon Ryu, who had a 68. But Ryu triumphed with a birdie at the first extra hole.

Thompson was penalised after a television viewer apparently alerted officials that Thompson has recognized her ball and then put it back in an improper place before a 1-foot putt on the 17 th green in the third round on Saturday.

Lexi Thompsons shocking four-stroke penalty stemmed from this improper ball placement during Saturdays third round.

The LPGA did not decide on a penalty until Sunday, when Thompson had a three-stroke leading and appeared to be cruising to her second major championship.

The organisation showed the video review was prompted by an email from a television viewer in a statement issued on Sunday evening.

Thompson was penalised two strokes for an incorrect ball placement and two strokes for an incorrect scorecard.

Thompson reacted with disbelief when officials told her of the decision while she walked to the 13 th tee.

Is this a joke? Thompson asked. After being assured it wasnt, she reacted: This is ridiculous.

Lexi Thompson is informed of the four-stroke penalty while walking to the 13 th tee.

Thompson appeared to choke up somewhat, but gleaned herself and birdied the par-4 13 th hole.

Inbee Park birdied the 16 th pit instants later to create a five-person tie-in for the leading. Meanwhile, course officials laboriously changed every number next to Thompsons name on the scoreboard.

Thompson won this tournament in 2014, and she has excelled for four consecutive years at the LPGAs first major of the season.

Golf fans on the course and the internet erupted with outrage when the LPGAs decision became understood. Tiger Woods instantly came to Thompsons defence on Twitter.

Tiger Woods (@ TigerWoods)

Viewers at home should not be officials wearing stripes. Let’s move @Lexi, win this thing anyway.

April 3, 2017

Others joined Woods dismay at the stunning turn of events.

Cheyenne Woods (@ Cheyenne_Woods)

Viewers should not be able to call in rulings.

April 2, 2017

Alison Walshe (@ Walsheyyy)

Infuriated w @Lexi ruling. Who intentionally strives an inch on a tap in. TV viewers need a day occupation or have no effect on our system.

April 3, 2017

Brittany Lincicome (@ Brittany1golf)

Come on @Lexi you can do it !!!!!
We really need to do something about people being able to call in. Specially days later. Poor girl

April 3, 2017

Natalie Gulbis (@ natalie_gulbis)

Who’s watching what happens to @Lexi @LPGA? Can’t believe this is happening. A onlookers calls in a rule a day late or ever …. Not right

April 3, 2017

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