The 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Kevin O’Connell has been enjoying the spoils of his victory in 2019.
With the win came a litany of invites, not the least exciting of which includes a tee time at the Masters and U.S. Open. After missing the cut at the Masters, O’Connell is on the property this week at Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open where what should have been a lifetime highlight turned into a scary situation quickly.
Playing a practice round on Tuesday, O’Connell came to the iconic, short par-3 7th hole and knocked in his tee shot for an ace. After the celebration and retrieving his ball from the hole, the 30-year-old veered away from his group on the way to the eighth tee where GolfDigest.com’s Joel Beall described the scene.
“An emergency squad arrived, at which point O’Connell become ill, vomiting a number of times. Gies II mentioned that O’Connell had been battling stomach pains most of the morning.”
Scary moment at Pebble. Moments after making hole-in-one at 7, Kevin O’Connell motions to group that something’s wrong and becomes violently sick. After 30 mins with Fire and Safety, he’s able to get into service vehicle under own power
— Joel Beall (@JoelMBeall) June 12, 2019
“When walking up the par-4 eighth, O’Connell broke from his group and veered off to the right,” Beall wrote. “This has been a common sight this week, with many players grabbing their phones to snap photos of the countless scenic vistas off the coastline. However, it became quickly apparent that O’Connell was not soaking in the panorama, putting his hands on his knees and bending at the waist.
“His caddie, David Gies II, rushed over, and told O’Connell’s group to continue on. After a few more minutes standing by the cliffs on the right side of the hole, O’Connell was moved to two seats placed in the left-side rough, where a call went in for medical assistance.
O’Connell received medical attention for 20 minutes before being transported in an emergency vehicle off of the property. He did not practice on Wednesday, but is still entered into the tournament, according to the USGA.
O’Connell was an All-American at the University of North Carolina and turned pro in 2008. He failed to advance out of Q-School on three different occasions, and regained his amateur status, which is how he was able to compete in last year’s Mid-Am.
Although O’Connell entertained thoughts of turning professional again, his Mid-Am victory earned him the coveted spots in the Masters and U.S. Open only if he remained an amateur.
He is slated to tee off the 10th tee on Thursday at 10:18 a.m. ET with Billy Hurly III and Brian Davis.