Slow-play penalty mars Munoz's win in Sybase Match Play Championship

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GLADSTONE, N.J. — Azahara Munoz is never going to forget her first LPGA Tour win. It was as emotional as it was controversial and possibly tainted.

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Spain's Azahara Munoz (center) is congratulated by her boyfriend Tim Bickers and Belen Mozo after Munoz won the LPGA Sybase Match Play Championship. In the semifinals, Morgan Pressel was given a one-hole penalty for slow play.  JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Spain's Azahara Munoz (center) is congratulated by her boyfriend Tim Bickers and Belen Mozo after Munoz won the LPGA Sybase Match Play Championship. In the semifinals, Morgan Pressel was given a one-hole penalty for slow play.

Munoz beat Candie Kung 2 and 1 on Sunday to win the Sybase Match Play Championship, a title that was set up when Morgan Pressel was penalized for slow play while in control of their semifinal match.

It all reverted to the morning semifinal in which Munoz and Pressel were both slow, although Munoz was admittedly a little slower. They were warned about slow play after nine holes and put on the clock after No. 11.

The 12th hole changed everything. Pressel won it with a par to seemingly take a 3-up lead.

However, before she could tee off on No. 13, tour official Doug Brecht informed her that she was being penalized for slow play. She had taken 2:09 to play her three shots, 39 seconds over the 30-second limit per shot.

In match play, a time penalty is the loss of the previous hole and that handed Munoz the hole. She was 1-down and back in the match.

“It was tough timing because it was a really big, I think, turning point in the match, going from 2-up to 3-up, and then all of a sudden back to 1-up,” said Pressel, who was on the verge of tears several times in a post-match news conference. “You know, it was – I mean, it was really unfortunate.”

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Casares, Spain, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts won the Volvo World Match Play Championship, beating Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell 1-up in windy conditions.

Colsaerts, a two-time winner on the European Tour, beat Scotland’s Paul Lawrie in 20 holes in the morning semifinals. McDowell edged Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello 2-up in the other semifinal.

NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Greer, S.C., Nick Flanagan won the BMW Charity Pro-Am for the second time in six years, beating fellow Australian Cameron Percy with a par on the third hole of a playoff.

Flanagan, a three-time winner on the tour in 2007, closed with 4-under-par 67 on
the Thornblade Club course to match Percy at 15-under 271. Percy finished with 66.

Darron Stiles and Robert Streb tied for third, a stroke back.

Augusta’s Scott Parel shot 71 and tied for 22nd at 277.

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