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Saturday, 08 December 2018
Madalitso Muthiya  (Getty Images)
Madalitso Muthiya (Getty Images)
Madalitso Muthiya may have entered the history books at the South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg - although not in the manner he would have wanted.

The Zambian was leading by two shots when he found himself in the fringe at the par-three fifth and he took a fairway wood out of the bag to attempt to save his par.

As he made contact, the ball bobbled up and he made a second contact on his follow through - a double-hit that led to a one-stroke penalty and eventually produced a double-bogey.

An accidental double-hit is unfortunate at the best of times but for Muthiya the misery is compounded by the fact that from January 1, players will not be penalised if one occurs.

In explaining the rule change, the USGA and R&A said:

“Where a double hit occurs as part of a single stroke and was not the intention of the player, it was felt unfair and unnecessary for the player to be penalised. Just as there is no penalty if a player’s ball accidentally deflects off his or her body, equipment or caddie, there is no need for a penalty when a player accidentally strikes his or her own ball in making a stroke. Accidental deflections are, by definition, an accident. When a player’s club accidentally strikes his or her ball multiple times it usually results in the ball going somewhere that the player did not intend for it to go. The outcome in such cases is random and unpredictable, and it results in a disadvantage for the player as often as it results in an advantage.”

The double-hit is a fairly rare occurrence and if another does not occur over the remainder of this event or at next week's Alfred Dunhill Championship, Muthiya will be the last player in European Tour history to be penalised for an accidental double-hit.

“I've double-hit it before but not with a wood,” he said. “I didn't event see that there was a hole in front of my ball, I was so fixated on trying to make the shot.

“I guess things like that happen and you just have to take it in your stride and put it behind you.”

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
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2LANGASQUE, RomainFRA18-12
T3EASTON, BryceRSA18-10
T3AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-10
T3WILSON, OliverENG18-10
T3SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA18-10

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