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Slow-play penalty ends up costing Virginia's Ben James shot at NCAA individual title

Slow-play penalty ends up costing Virginia's Ben James shot at NCAA individual title

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Virginia sophomore Ben James was penalized one stroke for slow play after Friday’s first round of the NCAA Championship.

That shot ended up proving costly.

James was part of a six-way tie for runner-up, a shot back of individual champion Hiroshi Tai of Georgia Tech, after he missed a 15-foot birdie putt at Omni La Costa’s par-5 finishing hole to polish off a 1-over 73 and finish at 2 under.

“One shot,” James told Golf Digest. “It’s the rules, but it sucks. It stings. There’s such a fine line in golf.”

James and his playing competitor Texas Tech’s Baard Skogen were among five players penalized for slow play in the first round; James’ 72 was adjusted to a 73. Oklahoma’s Ben Lorenz, also in James’ group, wasn’t penalized.

James told Digest that he spent 30 minutes after the first round pleading his case to the NCAA.

“I knew the result wasn't going to change,” James said, “but I wanted to get everything out. And I think that was important. … It made me feel better giving my two cents.”

James’ Cavaliers take on Auburn in the quarterfinals of match play on Tuesday morning.