Pieters called for a referee and was informed that as he “accidentally hit it” he could take it again. Relieved, Pieters two-putted for a par and moved on.
However, when he reached the clubhouse Mark Litton, the chief referee, was waiting to say the official had not been correct and he should have simply carried on from where his ball ended. Yet the round of 70 would stand because of the guidance in the R&A rule book that states if a player has been erroneously advised by a referee to cancel a stroke, the score with the replayed stroke counts.
No disrespect to Pieters – who was inevitably painted as a villain in certain quarters on social media, but, in fact, was not at fault – but it can only be hoped he does not win by a stroke on Sunday.
On five-under the world No 33 might seem handily placed in a tie for seventh, but he is actually 10 shots behind Rasmus, the young Dane who after a 65 is on 15-under and six clear of his nearest pursuer, France’s Paul Barjon.