A slithery surprise awaited Graeme McDowell on the ninth fairway at Thracian Cliffs during the opening round of group matches at the Volvo World Match Play – a snake was sunning itself right beside his golf ball.
McDowell's not a fan of the species, so rules official Kevin Feeney borrowed a wedge from the Portrush man's caddie and gently moved it along.
"It was yellow and green, a little tiddler," explained McDowell after completing an impressive 5&3 victory over England's Chris Woods. "But where there's a baby, momma's never far away."
This little critter wasn't venomous but players have been warned that Bulgaria's Meadow Viper, black with a white zig-zag down its back, is poisonous.
Pre-tournament favourite Ian Poulter lost 3&2 to Thai Thongchai Jaidee and defending champ Nicolas Colsaerts was slammed 4&3 by Branden Grace.
Shane Lowry meets George Coetzee this morning, followed by an afternoon showdown with Swede Peter Hanson. McDowell plays Scot Stephen Gallacher in his final group match.
Meanwhile, at the Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour Padraig Harrington's disastrous 7 on the par-four 15th ruined his first round as he carded a level par 70 to sit 10 strokes behind the red hot Keegan Bradley who bogeyed the last hole for a stunning 60.
Harrington did however birdie the two closing holes to boost his chances of making the cut.
World Match Play Championship,
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