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Abraham Ancer docked 2 strokes at Masters for controversial bunker violation

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Abraham Ancer finished Thursday at the Masters with a one-over par 73, a solid score on a tough day at Augusta.

Or so he thought.

After his round was over, rules officials delivered bad news. He was being penalized two strokes for a bunker infraction on No. 15. 

Penalty puts Ancer on wrong side of cut line

Instead of the bogey six he signed on his card, he scored a triple-bogey eight. His previously comfortable 73 is now a perilous three-over 75 that will have him battling the cut line from the opening tee on Friday. The top 50 players and ties make the cut into the weekend at Augusta. Ancer's three-over is good for a 52nd-place tie after Day 1. 

Per a James B. Hyler, chairman of the Masters competition committee:

"On the 15th hole during Thursday’s first round, Abraham Ancer unknowingly touched the sand before making his third stroke from the greenside bunker.

"After Mr. Ancer had signed his scorecard and exited the scoring area, video evidence was reviewed by the Committee regarding a potential breach of Rule 12.2b(1), which states that touching sand in a bunker right behind the ball results in a penalty."

Is this a violation?

Ancer tweeted news of the penalty along with video of the infraction Thursday evening. If you're not familiar with the rules of golf, players are not allowed to touch the sand behind the ball with their club. Doing so could improve their lie. 

Here's what drew the two-stroke penalty.

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Per the rules, if the infraction isn't visible to the naked eye, it's not deemed a penalty. Ancer apparently was not aware of the alleged violation at the time or when he signed his scorecard. 

Hyler ruled that Ancer's violation was, in fact, "visible to the naked eye" in his ruling: 

"The touching of the sand was deemed visible to the naked eye. Had this not been the case, the video evidence would have been disregarded and a penalty would not have been applied."

Can you see the rules violation here?

Abraham Ancer of Mexico walks up the first fairway during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 08, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Abraham Ancer picked up two penalty strokes and will battle the cut line on Friday. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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