ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Australian Steven Bowditch thought he had won the lottery after a penalty-shot reprieve on the notorious 17th hole helped him stay in the hunt at the British Open on Friday.
Bowditch was addressing a three-foot putt for a bogey on the testing 495-yard, par-four Road Hole when the wind caused the ball to move and he dropped his club in despair.
Until a recent rule change, a player would be docked a stroke if the ball moved while addressing a putt and he clearly believed he had endured some bad luck.
As it turned out Bowditch had forgotten the regulations and got away with a bogey five after consulting with an official.
"I forgot they changed the rules," said Bowditch who missed the cut in his only previous British Open.
"It used to be a penalty, I had a kind of mind blank. I went from making a pretty soft five to a really mad six to a 'felt-like-a-birdie five' again," he told reporters at St Andrews.
"When (the official) said there was no penalty I felt like I just won the lotto."
Bowditch then took full advantage to birdie the last and finish with a three-under-par 69 to go with his two-under 70 from Thursday and stay high up the leaderboard.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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