KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Pablo Larrazabal couldn’t believe what was coming his way. He was playing in the second round of the Malaysian Open on Friday when a swarm of hornets “three times the size of bees” began an assault.
“They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big-time,” he said. “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.”
Lee Westwood shot a 6-under 66 for a four-stroke lead, but this day was all about Larrazabal.
The 30-year-old Spaniard has been playing pro golf for 10 years. In January, he defeated Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy to capture the Abu Dhabi Championship. He knows of hazards on the course. This, however, had nothing to do with bunkers or sand traps.
“I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water,” he said. “It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared.”
The aerial attack came on the 14th hole, the fifth of his round. Larrazabal ran for safety, tossing his hat and shirt before being pulled from the lake. He was left with multiple stings and needed medical treatment, including injections.
Remarkably, Larrazabal birdied the 14th hole en route to a 2-under 68 at Kuala Lumpur Country Club in the European and Asian Tour event.
Larrazabal, who opened with a 74, knows he’ll have to confront the 14th hole again.
“Tomorrow it will be very, very scary to play that hole,” Larrazabal said.
Westwood, once ranked No. 1, was an afterthought in the hornets’ buzz as he pursues his first title in two years. He was at 131 with two rounds to go. The Englishman had eight birdies, his only error a double bogey when he hit into water guarding the green at the par-3 11th hole.
“I got a little unlucky at 11,” said Westwood, who was seventh at the Masters. “It was one of the best shots I hit all day, and the wind just gusted on me and it came up short in the water. But I rallied after that.”
Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines carded a 65 to hold the lead at 9 under before being overtaken by Westwood. Lascuna has won twice on the Asian Tour, and he shares second with Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.
Defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand was tied with Larrazabal after a pair of 71s.