USGA Defends Slow Play Penalty: "It’s just an unfortunate coincidence.”

Golfweek's Ryan Lavner fleshes out the hole-in-one-with-slow-play-penalty madness at the U.S. Junior Amateur, telling us that Connor Klein's group had fallen 20 minutes behind, which created problems when Klein then took his allotted 5 minutes to search for a lost ball while his playing partners finished out the 11th hole of the day.

Klein, however, made quick work of the 170-yard, par-3 fifth: He aced it. Unfortunately, No. 5 also represented one of the four U.S. Golf Association’s checkpoint stations, and all three players were docked a stroke for slow play.

After the round, the threesome appealed the penalty to USGA officials. Only Klein was forced to add a stroke, which meant turning his hole-in-one on No. 5 into a birdie.

“Poor play is not held against the group,” said the USGA’s David Staebler, tournament director at the U.S. Junior Amateur. “It’s what else that player is doing. Are they making an effort to play promptly? And after receiving a warning, is it apparent to the rules committee that that player is doing anything different from before to get his group back in position?

“Unfortunately, we can’t change our policy because someone made a 1. I wish it could have come on a different hole for him.”

Young Klein has a career in law if the golf thing doesn't pan out:

Klein, of Lone Tree, Colo., said in an email to Golfweek: “I’d like to reserve any comments about my hole-in-one until the tournament is completed on Saturday. The focus should be placed on the players who are still competing and their accomplishments. I’m in communication with the tournament director now to get clarity around receiving credit for the hole-in-one, becoming only the 12th player in history with an ace.”