Dubai: A bird being struck by a golf ball travelling at a speed of over 400mph, is not an everyday occurrence at a golf course. But it’s not totally uncommon either.
And so it was for an unsuspecting parrot at the Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday evening, when the luckless bird fatally flew right into the path of a ball struck by Australia’s Celina Yuan.
By cruel irony, Yuan would go on to make a birdie on the hole en route to an impressive four-under round of 68.
The golfer, who was clearly moved by the freak incident, recalled what happened after carding a 69 on Thursday, to grab a share of the second spot at the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic.
“Well, I was going to hit my shot and everything was clear,” said Yuan, who was born in China but resides in Sydney.
“And then once I began and I hit my shot, a parrot flew by and the ball hit it in the air, and it passed away.
Commenting on how she recovered from the incident, Yuan said: “I just got my mind off it and focused on my game after that.”
Lightning doesn’t often strike twice but in the Australian’s players case, it certainly has, as this was the second time she had struck an airborne bird on the golf course.
“Somehow these things keep happening to me,” she said. “It has happened before, once, I think two years ago when I was practicing on the range.”
Yuan, who was a former Australian girl’s amateur champion and cites Tiger Woods as an inspiration, was optimistic of doing well over the final two rounds at the Majlis course.
“I never really expected to play like this,” she confessed. “Really, I wasn’t striking it very well today, but the score somehow turned out pretty good.
“I holed a lot of putts that I never really holed any other days.”
Yuan collected five birdies against two bogeys, which came on the second and fourth holes.
Yuan, 18, qualified to play on the Ladies European Tour (LET) last December to become one of the youngest players to earn a full-time status on the burgeoning women’s tour.