Tuesday 24 April 2018

Video: The birdies and the bees... Pablo's great escape

Spain's Pablo Larrazabal jumps into a water hazard in an attempt to avoid being attacked by a swarm of hornets during round two of the 2014 Malaysian Open
Spain's Pablo Larrazabal jumps into a water hazard in an attempt to avoid being attacked by a swarm of hornets during round two of the 2014 Malaysian Open

William S Callahan

Angry hornets forced Pablo Larrazabal to run for his life and dive into a lake at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, adding a truly bizarre chapter to the litany of close encounters between man and nature at the Malaysian Open.

Larrazabal was stung around 20 times and got the fright of his life as the insects, estimated at three times bigger than the average bee, swarmed him on the fifth fairway during yesterday's second round.

Left with no option but to seek refuge in a water hazard, the Spaniard (30) was given a couple of injections and a change of shirt when he re-emerged. Remarkably, Larrazabal recovered to sink a 12-foot birdie putt on the hole and complete a 68 as he eased through to the weekend on two-under-par.

Pythons and cobras are not uncommon on courses in Malaysia, while one golfer took the A-Famosa resort to court in 2004 after being bitten on the leg by a crocodile.

Padraig Harrington had an amusing confrontation with a thieving monkey several years ago during practice for the Malaysian Open on the Cobra Course at Saujana, also in Kuala Lumpur.

The light-fingered primate pinched his laser range-finder out of his golf bag and ran up a nearby tree. Saujana's monkeys nick mobile phones because they enjoy the sounds made when keys are pressed. Unable to make any noise with the range-finder, the incensed monkey threw it at a local caddie who had shimmied up the tree.

Larrazabal annoyed a hornet when he brushed it off his nose. In moments, a swarm dived upon him and fellow players urged the Spaniard to make for the hazard ... so he stripped off his shoes and shirt and plunged into the water.

"I've never been so scared on a golf course," he said. "When I put my shirt back on, the hornets came back again so I changed and then played on. It's going to be very scary to play that hole tomorrow," added Larrazabal, 11 behind leader Lee Westwood entering the third round.

Michael Hoey was Ireland's best in a share of 13th on four-under, despite following up Thursday's 67 with a 73. The Ulsterman's putter, red-hot on Thursday, cooled considerably. Simon Thornton was tied-25th with Larrazabal after matching his 68.

Shane Lowry missed the cut by one on two-over despite a sweet 66 which matched the low round of the tournament. The Clara man had 36 putts in his opening 80 but just 24 yesterday. Damien McGrane missed on five-over after an even-par 72.

Graeme McDowell was in his element at Harbour Town before howling wind and driving rain forced play in the second round of The RBC Heritage to a halt.

Defending champion McDowell had just holed from 13 feet at six for his second birdie when the hooter sounded. Two-under for his round and the tournament, The Portrush man was three shy of leader KJ Choi following a solid 67 by the Korean.

Malaysian Open, Day 3

LIVE, SKY SPORTS 4, 4.0

RBC HERITAGE, DAY 3

LIVE, SKY SPORTS 4, 6.0

Irish Independent

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