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New Zealand's top-ranked amateur golfer is recuperating in a Savannah hospital after he fell from a moving golf cart and hit his head on the pavement following the final round of the Players Amateur, held earlier this month at Belfair Golf Club.'
Brad Iles, 20, was put into an induced coma so two blood clots could be removed from his brain on July 18, just hours after the tournament, according to several published reports. He spent about a week in the critical care unit at Memorial Health University Medical Center.'
Attempts over the past week to reach Iles and his family members at the hospital were unsuccessful. A hospital receptionist confirmed Wednesday that he had been moved out of the critical care unit and into another room.'
Iles' father, Peter, told the Toronto Star last week that his son was riding on the back of a cart with two other tournament contestants at about 10 p.m., several hours after the tournament ended, when he fell off the back and hit his head on the pavement. '
"(T)hey were out after the tournament was over ... and they thought they would go and look at the alligators in the swamps," Peter Iles told the Star. "They were going back home, they went around a corner and, for some reason, Brad fell off the back and hit his head on the tarmac."'
Peter Iles flew from New Zealand to Savannah, along with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Kelly, on July 20 and were greeted at the airport by tournament director Steve Wilmot.'
"The most important thing is his condition," Wilmot said. "He's out of (critical care) and going through some physical training, as well. I understand he has been walking in the hallways, and there's talk of moving him into a standard room in a day or two and maybe releasing him by the end of the week."'
Last week, other tournament officials referred questions about Iles to Wilmot, who was unavailable for comment while vacationing in North Carolina. Wilmot said he was told of Iles' accident the morning of July 19 and kept in contact with the young golfer's family during his trip.'
"I actually spoke with his dad this morning, as well, and he said he felt like (Brad) was in good hands," Wilmot said Wednesday. "His father reported he was in good spirits, as he has been throughout.'
"I've really been impressed with Brad and the Iles family. They are very nice people."'
Most Players Amateur contestants are housed with host families for their stay. Many golfers left town shortly after the tournament ended on the afternoon of July 17, but Iles apparently wasn't scheduled to leave until the next day.'
Wilmot said he didn't not know the names of the other contestants seated in the cart as Iles stood on the back. He said Iles took a spill when the driver made a turn Iles did not expect. Wilmot added he does not know if alcohol was involved in the incident, but that the injury was being treated as an accident and that no charges were expected.'
Iles won his country's 2003 South Island Amateur and 2003 North Island Amateur championships. He finished ninth in the Players Amateur, one of several American amateur events he has played this summer while on break from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.