CANBERRA, Australia — Swedish golfer Daniela Holmqvist says she was bitten by a spider and used a tee to extract what she thought was potentially fatal venom before finishing her round during qualifying for the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Women’s Australian Open.
The Swedish Golf Federation reported on its website that Holmqvist was hitting out of the rough on the fourth hole at Royal Canberra Golf Club when she felt a sharp pain on her ankle.
Holmqvist swatted the spider away and was told by people nearby that it could have been a black widow, so she used a golf tee to pierce the swelling and squeeze out the venom.
“A clear fluid came out,” she told Svensk Golf magazine. “It wasn’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever done, but I had to get as much of it out of me as possible.”
Holmqvist continued her round, under the supervision of medical staff, but finished with a 74 on Tuesday and missed out on qualifying for the tournament.
Australia isn’t home to the black widow spider, which is native to North America. A tournament official said Thursday that Holmqvist was more than likely bitten by a redback, another species of widow spider known as the Latrodectus Hasselti. The Australian Museum said on its website that redback bites occur frequently in the summer months and 250 cases receive antivenom each year, with many others going unreported.
Common early symptoms are pain in the area of the bite and throughout the abdomen, chest and neck, sweating, muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting. No deaths have been reported from redback bites since the discovery of an antidote in 1955.