Amateur golfer Kevin O’Connell experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows on successive holes while warming up for the U.S. Open.
O’Connell was going through a practice round on Tuesday at Pebble Beach when he made a hole-in-one on the 108-yard seventh hole, according to Golf Digest.
But while walking up the eighth hole, O’Connell suddenly broke off from his practice group and headed to the right side of the hole.
For newcomers and those experienced playing at Pebble Beach, this is quite common: The Pacific Ocean runs parallel to the eighth hole, so players often want to get an even better look at the ocean and the coastline.
Start your Friday off right with a little dose of the stunning 8th hole at Pebble Beach ?. https://t.co/YDqHoQGpi4
?: Stephen Szurlej pic.twitter.com/JnoI978mn8
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) February 9, 2018
But O’Connell didn’t veer off to go sightseeing. He bent over with his hands on his knees and suddenly became very sick.
Soon after, O’Connell was moved to seats on the left side of the hole and a call was made for medical assistance.
Things only got worse from there as he became “violently ill” and vomited multiple times, according to Golf Digest’s Joel Beall. Paramedics arrived, and after about 30 minutes, O’Connell was able to get into a service vehicle under his own power.
The USGA confirmed to Golf Channel that “a competitor did ask for medical assistance on the course. He was treated at the location by staff that quickly responded. Once his condition improved he took a cart back to his room. He did not request medical transport.”
O’Connell’s caddie, David Gies II, said O’Connell had been battling stomach pains most of the practice session, which makes his hole-in-one even more amazing.
He qualified for the tournament after becoming the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion last September. O’Connell originally had turned pro after graduating from North Carolina in 2011, but he regained his amateur status after failing to get through Q-school several times.
O’Connell was able to put Tuesday behind him and was healthy enough to tee off early Thursday for the first round.
Unfortunately for him, the eighth hole was just as much a nightmare during the tournament as it was during the practice round.
O’Connell double-bogeyed the eighth after this time parring the seventh hole. That followed a solid showing of even par through the first 13 holes.
After the first round, O’Connell sits at 5 over par and will tee off at 1:03 p.m. PST Friday.
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