Fans are assisted by medical personnel
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta: Six spectators were injured when lightning struck a tree during the third round at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Saturday.

The strike occurred 28 minutes after play was halted when thunderstorms hit the East Lake Golf Club, Tour rules official Mark Russell said on the NBC broadcast.

The PGA Tour said two lightning strikes had hit the course. “At 4.45 p.m., there were two lightning strikes at East Lake Golf Club; a tree near the range/15 green/16 tee was hit, and debris from that strike injured four people” the Tour said in a statement.

“(Emergency personnel) tended to those fans and two others immediately and transported them from the property via ambulance for further medical attention.

“Our latest report is that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.” Russell said officials were aware of possible thunderstorms but elected not to change the tee-times.

NBC screened footage showing the lightning bolt that apparently caused the injuries.

Saturday’s stoppage came after the leaders in the 30-man field had completed only five holes in the season-ending event.

Justin Thomas led fellow American Brooks Koepka and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy by one stroke, while American Xander Schauffele was two behind.