Rory McIlroy hacks out of the bushes and hits a spectator at Wentworth

Rory McIlroy's attempt to hack out of a bush at Wentworth resulted in a painful blow for an unfortunate spectactor

Rory McIlroy endured a torrid start to his third round at the BMW PGA Championship, and he unwittingly dealt a painful blow to an unfortunate spectator on the sixth.

McIlroy’s pristine long-game of the second round was a distant memory as he struggled from tee to green early on day three, scrambling hard for four pars while dropping a shot at the third, but worse was to follow after a wild tee shot at the par-four sixth.

The overnight leader carved a driving iron way right and his ball looked to be heading out of bounds until rattling around the branches and shrubbery before dropping into thick rough close to a bush.

Faced with a difficult task just to stab his ball back into play, a fan behind him earned a rebuke from the official following the final pairing of the day as he held back one of the branches to allow McIlroy a backswing – unbeknown to the 2014 champion.

But when he did attempt to hack out, his caught it thin and drilled his ball towards the gallery, with the luckless spectator taking the brunt of the impact “flush on the knuckles”, according to our on-course reporter Andrew Coltart.

Fortunately, a medic was on hand to administer immediate treatment as a clearly-shaken McIlroy offered profuse apologies, and the spectator remained in good spirits despite feeling the pain.

Watch the video above to see McIlroy’s anguish on the sixth at the BMW PGA …

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