American golfer Nick Watney SIPA USA/PA Images

Watney first player on PGA Tour to test positive for coronavirus since play resumed

The 39-year-old withdrew from the RBC Heritage after testing positive early on Friday.

PGA TOUR VETERAN Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage tournament on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19, the US tour said in a statement.

Watney, who shot a three-over-par 74 in Thursday’s opening round at Harbour Town, was tested for the coronavirus early Friday after complaining of symptoms, the tour said.

The 39-year-old American is the first player on tour to test positive for the coronavirus since play resumed in Texas last week.

Watney is now self-isolating while the tour has started tracing all those who had been in contact with him during this week’s event at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

“Nick will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation and recovery period under CDC guidelines,” the Tour said in a statement.

“For the health and well-being of all associated with the tournament and those within the community, the tour has begun implementing its response plan in consultation with medical experts, including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick.”

The RBC Heritage is taking place without spectators as the PGA Tour feels its way back after shutting down in March as the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

On the course it is Webb Simpson who is the leader on -12 after his second round 65 put him one shot ahead of Bryson De Chambeau and Corey Conners, tied in second place.

rbc-heritage-golf AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

The Irish players all enjoyed good second rounds but it looks like only Rory McIlroy will make the cut. He hit a 65 to go to -5 in a share of 41st on the leaderboard and while Graeme McDowell (66) and Shane Lowry (67) were in fine form today, they are too far back on -1 to play into the weekend.

- Additional reporting by AFP

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