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A golfer in Australia has been killed after being struck by a golf ball in a freak accident.

Rod Gurney, 69, was hit in the head on Tuesday whilst playing in a tournament at the Portalington Golf Club in Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula region.

He was treated at the course by paramedics and then taken home before being admitted to hospital later on Tuesday after his condition deteriorated. He was subsequently transferred to a different hospital in Melbourne where he died “peacefully” on Saturday.

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“It is with immense sadness that Portarlington Golf Club advises that Rod Gurney, a much-loved member, has passed away,” a club statement read.

Gurley was a father of three and a grandfather of five who was described as a “dedicated family man”.

In a statement to the Herald Sun, his family said: “Although this death was tragic and sudden, we are heartened to know that he passed doing something he loved.

“As a family, we understand that accidents happen during competitive sport and our hearts go out to his Portarlington golf mates and those who witnessed the incident.”

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Golf Australia has pledged to support the club and Gurley’s family, as well as club staff and members who witnessed the accident.

A 2018 study revealed that an estimated 40,000 golfers seek emergency treatment each year due to head injuries caused by errant golf balls and flying club heads.

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