When a provisional ball has not yet become the ball in play, it must be abandoned when :
a) The original ball is found on course, outside penalty area, and within the three minute search time OR
b) The original is found in penalty area or is known or virtually certain to be in penalty area
In either case, further play with the provisional will incur the wrong ball penalty, and all strokes ( including penalties) with that ball do not now count.
Here are some applications of the rules concerning playing v. abandoning a provisional:
So long as the original has not yet been found in bounds, the score with a provisional that has been holed, becomes the player’s score for the hole when the player lifts the ball from the hole. In this case, lifting the ball from the hole is the same as making a stroke e.g. a provisional played from a par three tee, is holed, and then taken out of the hole, even if the original is subsequently found within the three minute search time.
If a player lifts their provisional ball when not permitted to do so, and the provisional subsequently becomes the ball in play, the player must add one penalty stroke and replace the ball e.g. a player believes they have found their original, plays it, and lifts the provisional. It transpires that it was a wrong ball that the player hit, and the original cannot be found. The player now incurs the one shot penalty for the lifting, and a two shot penalty for the wrong ball. Therefore, if the provisional was a 2nd teeshot, the player is now about to play his/her seventh.