Ball sits on edge of cup for 35 seconds ... and goes in
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Ball sits on edge of cup for 35 seconds ... and goes in

Jake McLeod insists the issue of whether he should have incurred a one-stroke penalty after watching his ball sit on the edge of the hole for almost 35 seconds before it dropped in should have been sorted at the end of his round rather than in the middle of it.

Australian Open contender McLeod celebrated after his birdie putt on the par-four fourth hole hung on the lip of the hole for seemingly an eternity before eventually falling in.

But under the rules of golf, players ordinarily have 10 seconds to make a tap-in putt once they've reached a ball that is overhanging the hole. If the ball has not fallen into the hole in that time, it's considered at rest.

McLeod stood alongside his ball, crouched down and almost willed it in – clearly taking longer than the allowed time – before the ball spectacularly dropped into the hole.

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He was originally credited with a birdie, but an on-course rules official later alerted McLeod of the one-stroke penalty on the next hole before confirming it on the eighth tee.

"It's probably not the right time to do it," McLeod said of being told of the decision. "I was a little bit frustrated after that. He said it was a one-shot penalty. I probably would have preferred it was after the round."

Drama: Jake McLeod finished the day nine shots behind the leader.

Drama: Jake McLeod finished the day nine shots behind the leader.Credit:AAP

McLeod had a share of the Australian Open lead early in the third round after the controversial incident, but faded later in the day to finish with a three-over 75. He's at four-under for the tournament, nine strokes shy of Mexican playing partner Abraham Ancer.

Asked whether the drama affected his round, McLeod said: "A little bit, yeah it did. I bogeyed the next hole. [But] that's not the reason I played bad today.

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"I'm aware of the 10-second rule, but the other rule I was aware of is if the wind blows the ball in, that counts. That's what I don't understand. That's the rule, it's just how it is and I've just got to suck it up. It's only one shot.

"It was sitting on the edge, but it wasn't moving back and forth. It was moving towards the hole the whole time. The wind was gusting from behind the ball and I was walking up there and the boys said, 'It's still moving'. It took a long time, but it was rolling towards the hole."

McLeod, 24, broke through for his first professional win last week at the NSW Open and said his maiden Australian Open appearance two years ago was marred by another bizarre incident when his ball rested behind a pine cone in a bunker.

This latest saga comes less than 24 hours after another Australian Open rules drama when Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts was originally docked two shots for grounding his club in a bunker trying to avoid a moving ball that had failed to clear a trap on his first attempt.

Officials even contacted world golf's ruling authority, The R&A, during the middle of the European night for guidance on the decision, which was later reversed as Colsaerts was playing his penultimate hole.

Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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