Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Michael Hoey ignores buzz as Pablo Larrazabal ends up making splash

Michael Hoey is on the fringes at Malaysian Open
Michael Hoey is on the fringes at Malaysian Open

Angry hornets forced Pablo Larrazabal to run for his life and dive into a lake at the Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, but Michael Hoey had other things on his mind.

The Belfast man is Ireland's best in a share of 13th on four-under, despite following up Thursday's 67 with a 73.

Hoey's putter, red-hot on Thursday, cooled considerably.

Simon Thornton was tied-25th with Larrazabal after matching the Spaniard's 68.

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 quickly enough to sink a 12-foot birdie putt 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 the Dubliner's 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 when keys are pressed. Unable to make any noise with the range-finder, the incensed monkey bit several holes in it before throwing it at a local caddie.

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 plunged into the water.

"I've never been so scared on a golf course," said Larrazabal, 11 behind leader Lee Westwood on 13 under.

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