(Reuters) - Patrick Reed was penalised two strokes for a rules violation in the Hero World Challenge third round in the Bahamas on Friday.
Reed was docked the strokes after twice moving sand while taking a practice swing in a sandy waste area at the 11th hole at Albany Golf Club, which served to marginally improve his lie.
The 2018 Masters champion was deemed to have improved his intended line of play, violating rule 8.1a.
The halfway leader thus carded a round of 74 and fell three strokes behind the 54-hole leader, fellow American Gary Woodland.
Reed seemed to question whether the penalty was warranted, but said he would put it behind him and focus on the final round.
"At the end of the day you have to accept the penalty and move on," he told reporters.
"After seeing the club go back and brush some sand, they thought that's a breach of the rules."
The television pictures were filmed from behind the ball, while Reed was looking down on it, something he said could lead to different interpretations because of the different angles.
"It's my word against their word. They weren't standing there," he said.
Rules official Slugger White said whether Reed intended to brush the sand or not was irrelevant.
"You could see the path of the sand come away on two different occasions," White told reporters.
"He did it the first time, put the club down again and did it another time. Intent would not matter here."
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)