Pablo Larrazabal's quest for Malaysian Open glory took a turn for the bizarre when he was attacked by a swarm of hornets during his four-under 68 in the second round at Kuala Lumpur Country Club.
The Spaniard was targeted at the 14th hole (the fifth of his round), a situation that appeared amusing at first, until he was forced to leap into the nearby water hazard for relief.
Larrazabal jumped fully clothed into the water adjacent to the 14th green, but not before suffering a number of hornet stings that required treatment, according to The Associated Press, via ESPN.com. ESPN continued with a statement from Larrazabal discussing the incident:
They were three times the size of bees. They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn't know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.
I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I've never been so scared.
The European Tour's official YouTube channel posted the video, confirming Larrazabal was the victim of around 20 stings during the unfortunate assault:
Remarkably, Larrazabal finished the hole with a birdie putt, later replicating this achievement on the seventh to keep himself in contention with an overall score of two under.
The 30-year-old is currently 11 shots behind first-place Lee Westwood, who extended his clubhouse lead with a confident six under to set the overall mark at 13 under, per the European Tour's official website.
Larrazabal's situation has commanded quite a reaction from the golfing world on Twitter. Commentator Peter Alliss led the charge of humorous messages once the player was confirmed to be fine:
The leader of the swarm of hornets gave his side of the earlier attack on Larrazabal in Malaysia. Remarkable pic.twitter.com/dpVDdz2Ith— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) April 18, 2014
ESPN's SportsCenter provided an image of the moment Larrazabal exited the water:
Strange But True: Golfer Pablo Larrazabal forced to jump into water hazard to escape hornets at Malaysian Open. pic.twitter.com/q1596Swuct— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 18, 2014
This year's European Tour schedule has yielded one triumph for Larrazabal, who outperformed the likes of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson to win January's Abu Dhabi Championship. While he won't be thankful for the intervention of hornets, he did extremely well to shake off the Malaysian incident.
Larrazabal comfortably makes the cut with his current score, but he faces an uphill challenge to catch Westwood during the third round.
He showed real determination to continue battling through a tournament that was littered with tropical storm warnings during the opening day, ensuring no easy route to success for whomever ends up on top.