Swafford shakes off sting to grab lead in Dominican Republic

FILE PHOTO: Feb 2, 2020; Scottsdale, Arizona, USA; Hudson Swafford tees off on the first during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament at TPC Scottsdale. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Hudson Swafford was stung by a hornet early in his second round at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on Friday but did not let that affect his game as the American went on to take the halfway lead in the Dominican Republic.

Swafford, who started on the back nine, capped his round with three consecutive birdies for a five-under-par 67 that brought him to 12 under on the week and two strokes clear of Americans Sean O’Hair (67), Luke List (65) and Justin Suh (67).

After hitting his tee shot at the par-three 11th, Swafford said he grabbed for his putter when a hornet stung him in the joint on his pinky finger.

“It started swelling up, so I was just kind of rubbing ice on it after tee shots for the first five, six holes on the back side,” said Swafford, who is seeking his second PGA Tour victory and first since 2017. “I guess it kind of just cleared my mind of the golf thing and just let me focus on something else.”

Undeterred, Swafford went on to birdie two of his next three holes to reach the turn at two-under for the round and mixed five birdies with two bogeys the rest of the way.

Adam Long (65) enjoyed a run of six consecutive birdies during his round and was three shots off the pace along with Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (67) and China’s Zhang Xinjun (69).

Defending champion Graeme McDowell (73) finished two shots outside the three-under cut line after a round that included a triple-bogey, bogey and three birdies.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris