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Koepka gutted as fan hit by ball may lose sight in one eye

 

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Wayward shot: Brooks Koepka after the incident where a woman was injured during the Ryder Cup

Wayward shot: Brooks Koepka after the incident where a woman was injured during the Ryder Cup

AFP/Getty Images

Wayward shot: Brooks Koepka after the incident where a woman was injured during the Ryder Cup

Brooks Koepka has described hearing that a spectator struck in the eye by one of his tee shots during the Ryder Cup could suffer long-term consequences as "probably one of the worst days of my life".

Corine Remande was hit by a wayward shot on the par-four sixth at Le Golf National in Paris and she could lose the sight in her right eye.

Koepka said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday that he was "deeply hurt and saddened" by the incident and also addressed what happened in a press conference yesterday ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

"Yesterday was probably one of the worst days of my life," Koepka said. "I haven't had too many tragedies in my personal family where there's been a loss or any kind of tragic accident so I've been lucky.

"I wasn't told until I got to the course, so when I got here and had about seven missed calls and 25 messages I was like, 'What's going on?' Then I was told the news and obviously I am really heartbroken.

"My stomach sank. Yesterday was probably one of the hardest days trying to focus and play golf just knowing what was going to come when I was done.

"I spent an hour and a half of my round on the phone trying to understand what was going on because it's hard to get the real story. I didn't know if it was fake or not. It's sad and I really am torn up about it."

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Meanwhile, NI Open winner Calum Hill is drawing on positive vibes ahead of the Monaghan Irish Challenge which gets under way today at Concra Wood GC.

"It's quite nice to be in a similar setting to when I won in Northern Ireland, but it's chillier," said the 23-year old Scot. "After the win in Northern Ireland, everyone is saying I'll be able to win again in Ireland. I'm looking forward to it.

"I've been round the course twice already this week. It's a brilliant course. You've got to hit the ball well and there will be a lot of long irons into the greens. The back nine is tough but the front nine gives you a few chances."

Hill produced a superb closing 64 (-7) to snatch victory at Galgorm Castle back in August. He is ranked 33rd in the Order of Merit and with four events remaining, a good finish could earn him a European Tour card for 2019.

He added: "My aim is to be as consistent as possible. If you're shooting four- or five-under each round I think it will be very good around here, but if you are doing that in most places you're probably giving yourself a good chance.

"I'm not focusing too much on the end of the season. I'll try and play as best I can and see if that puts me in a position where I could end up in the top 15 places."

This will be the first time a Challenge Tour event has been held at the Christy O'Connor-designed course in Castleblayney. A total of 19 Irish competitors will tee it up, amongst them GolfSixes 2018 champion Gavin Moynihan, Ruaidhri McGee, Dermot McElroy, Jonathan Caldwell and young amateur star Tom McKibbin.

The Holywood golfer is hoping once more to make the most of a glorious opportunity to compete alongside the professionals. The 15-year old is nursing a wrist injury but managed to play in Tuesday's Pro-Am and is hopeful of being fit to tee it up alongside Scotland's Robert MacIntyre and Germany's Bernd Ritthammer at 8.30am this morning.

Caldwell has shown some signs of a return to form since finishing tied-13th at the NI Open. The Bangor man has played Concra Wood under tournament conditions before back in 2014 when the venue hosted a Europro Tour event, the Kingspan Concra Wood Open.

"The Europro event was a lot earlier in the year and it played a bit faster," said Caldwell. "It's playing longer now and in the current temperatures the ball does not fly as far."

Scoring on the Challenge Tour is traditionally very low, witness Liam Johnston's 24-under par winning total at the recent Kazakhstan Open, but Caldwell expects Concra Wood to offer a sterner test.

"This will be a different challenge. It will be very important to play from the fairway to get to the rights spots on the greens," he said.

"I know the holes you have to score on and the holes you have to respect and take pars, so I do have a bit of an advantage. If I play the way I have been recently, and if I can make putts, then hopefully I will be there or thereabouts."


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