Golfer hospitalised after being struck in head by ball
The KLM Open was halted by almost two hours yesterday as paramedics rushed onto the greens at the KLM Open after Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti was hit on the forehead by a wayward tee shot from Alexandre Kaleka during the opening round in the Netherlands.
The world number 97 was playing on the 16th fairway when he was suddenly struck by the Frenchman’s drive off the 14th. Play was suspended while the 31-year-old received treatment for his injury.
It was later confirmed by tournament director Miguel Vidaor that Zanotti was given the all-clear and discharged from hospital.
Defending champion Joost Luiten and Scotland’s Jamie McLeary shared the opening round lead at the Kennemer on the outskirts of Amsterdam on five under par. Ryder Cup participant Thomas Bjorn and Vice-captain Miguel Angel Jimenez were both off the pace on one over.
Zanotti, meanwhile, was accompanied to the hospital by fellow players Felipe Aguilar and Ricardo Gonzalez – who both withdrew from the opening round.
KLM Open director Daan Slooter told BBC Sport: "Unfortunately, there was not an ambulance on site, as requested by the European Tour.
"We took the decision not to have one because the first aid provision was capable of dealing with an incident like this, and indeed any other medical emergency.
"The hospitals nearby and the ambulance system in Holland could respond quickly if further assistance was required, and indeed the ambulance responded within the parameters of Dutch law.
"In light of what happened with Fabrizio, we now have an ambulance on site for the remainder of the tournament."
Zanotti had been in the midst of his best season on the European Tour, sitting comfortably 27th in the Race to Dubai prior to the start of the tournament. He had been forced to regain his Tour card after enduring a poor 2013 season, but turned his fortunes around to become the first Paraguayan to win on the European Tour when he claimed his maiden title at the BMW International Open at Gut Lärchenhof in June.
Fabrizio Zanotti Fact File
Year Turned Pro: 2003
World Ranking: 97
Biggest Career Victory: Winning 2014 BMW International Open