Alejandro Canizares (Getty Images)
Alejandro Cañizares’ first tournament back since a meningitis scare could have a fairytale finish at Wentworth Club this weekend after the Spaniard moved to within a shot of the clubhouse lead at the BMW PGA Championship.
The 30 year old was struck down with viral meningitis in the Far East last month and had not played since, but following his opening 69 with a two under par 70 took Cañizares to five under in difficult conditions over the West Course and just one behind Francesco Molinari at The European Tour’s Flagship Event.
“In Korea I started getting sick in my stomach on the flight,” explained Cañizares, who won on his third European Tour start in 2006 but has not registered another victory in 174 appearances since.
“I had gastroenteritis, very ugly, and apparently that virus that caused the stomach problems made me weak for a week but I was fine on the weekend.
“Then when I flew to China on Monday, started getting a headache and then the next day woke up with fever and a lot of headache. I didn't know what it was, and on Wednesday in the morning, I decided to go to the hospital and the physios in China really helped me. They were wonderful to me, and the people at the organisation, the Volvo people and everybody at the tournament really helped. There was a girl that came with me in a courtesy car, she stayed at the hospital for the whole time.
“They did all these tests and told me it was meningitis and I got a little scared after doing the lumbar puncture. But I didn't know there was two types, so I got the lucky one. I got viral, which is not very strong and it goes away in a week. The fever went away in a couple days, went home, rested and here I am.
“When you hear the word meningitis, it's a little scary, but they told me it's like a flu that infected the head instead of anything else. Right now I'm fine - I'm just a little weak, but I'll go on with it for the week.”
Cañizares best performance at Wentworth is tied tenth in 2008, but he believes that not pushing himself too hard following his medical scare may be working to his advantage.
“The secret for me is not asking too much out of myself, not putting much pressure because I'm not 100 per cent, but it's working,” he added. “I'm making a lot of up-and-downs and when I'm not hitting the ball any good, I'm making a lot of up-and-downs and I'm taking any chances.
“I'm not worried about it, I've never been very strong! Right now I'm playing all right. I'm very focused on the golf course which is helping me and I'm happy to be standing where I stand.”