J.R. Smith’s college debut took a scary turn on Tuesday.
After shooting 19 over during Monday’s 36-hole day at the Elon Phoenix Invitational, the former NBA player turned North Carolina A&T freshman was three holes into his final round when he was stung by what was believed to be several yellow jackets after aggravating a nest while searching for a wayward tee shot in the woods.
The incident happened on the par-5 12th hole at Alamance Country Club in Burlington, North Carolina. As Smith walked through the pine straw in search for his ball, the wheel of Smith's push cart rolled over the opening to the underground nest. The yellow jackets immediately attacked, and video showed Smith running back toward the fairway while desperately trying to shoo the wasps off of him.
Smith and his group were granted a 15-minute break, and Smith was treated by medical personnel while the group behind played through.
“To get stung on the basketball court or in an arena, never happens,” Smith told The Associated Press. “That’s one of the very few things you don’t have to worry about [in basketball] – other animals. When I got stung, I was like ‘No way.’”
Smith eventually was able to continue playing. He had parred his first two holes, but after being stung, he double-bogeyed No. 12 and then made bogeys at Nos. 14, 15 and 18 to turn in 5-over 41. He improved on the second nine, making six pars and three bogeys to wrap up an 8-over 79.
“I tried to turn it into a positive,” Smith said. “This might be your equivalent of a flu game.”
The two-time NBA champion finished at 27 over, which placed him in solo 81st, ahead of just two players who finished 54 holes and 37 shots back of the winning score.
“I got a lot of great feedback,” Smith said. “Chris Paul was telling me guys were talking about it in the locker room. Guys are really looking for my scores, so I got to take care of business so when I see them it ain’t going to be too much backlash.”
– Information from The Associated Press was used in this report