Golf Digest WomanFebruary 12, 2013

Player bitten by Black Widow spider in LPGA qualifier

By Stina Sternberg

Before teeing it up in the pre-qualifier for this week's season-opening LPGA event, the ISPS Handa Australian Open in Yarralumla, Australia, the only Black Widows that LET rookie Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden had ever heard of were the eponymous golf spikes.

But after punching out of the rough on the fourth hole of the Royal Canberra Golf Club in Tuesday's competition, she felt a sharp stab in her ankle. When she looked down, she saw a large, black creature with a red spot on its back just above her sock line. After quickly swatting it away, she doubled over in pain.

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"When I told the local caddies in my group what had happened, they got very upset and said it was a Black Widow, and immediately started looking for their phones to call the medics," Holmqvist told Karin Klarstrom of Svensk Golf.

As Holmqvist's leg started to swell and the pain became intense, she made the quick decision to take matters into her own hands (she'd just been informed that a Black Widow bite can kill a child in as little as 30 minutes). She pulled a tee out of her pocket ("it was the only thing I had handy," she told Svensk Golf) and used it to cut open the wound so she could squeeze out the venom and keep it from spreading inside her body.

"A clear fluid came out," she said. "It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever done, but I had to get as much of it out of me as possible."

It appears the do-it-yourself surgery was effective. An official was called and after weighing her options, Holmqvist decided to play on, despite severe pain and some anxiety about her well-being. Medics followed her the remaining 14 holes to make sure she didn't pass out, and monitored her behavior and swelling. She finished the round without incident but shot 74, which left her out of the tournament.

"It still hurts," she told Svensk Golf later in the evening. "I don't recommend getting bitten by a Black Widow."

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