TROON, Scotland (AP) — French golfer Clement Sordet woke up at 4 a.m. on Friday to text messages asking if he was safe following the tragedy in his hometown of Nice.
In fact, Sordet was on the west coast of Scotland for the British Open at Royal Troon, but his girlfriend, Marie, and her family were in Nice and celebrating Bastille Day when a truck plowed through revelers gathered along the Riviera city’s waterfront promenade. At least 84 people were killed.
Sordet said the tragedy happened about 500 meters from where he lives.
“It’s a really sad situation,” the 23-year-old Sordet said. “I give my thoughts to all the families and to the people who died.”
He said his girlfriend, her family and his friends are safe.
Sordet used a blue marker to write the words “Pray For Nice” on his cap for his second round. He was in the first group out for the second round at 6:35 a.m., and shot 4-over 75.
“I tried not to think about, that’s why I had this on my hat,” Sordet said, pointing to the side of his cap. “I just tried to enjoy the last day at the Open.”
Sordet was born in Charbonnieres-les-Bains, near Lyon. He moved to Nice, where his girlfriend is from. He won’t be back there for another two weeks because he is about to play in back-to-back tournaments.
Sordet said he wouldn’t be nervous going back to France. The attack in Nice has rocked a nation still dealing with the aftermath of two attacks in Paris last year that killed a total of 147 people.
“I’m really proud to be French,” he said. “We need to support each other.”
Victor Dubuisson, who was born in Cannes, a city just down the coast from Nice in southeastern France, is the other French golfer in the British Open field. Dubuisson tees off in the afternoon.
The French flag that flies above the grandstand at the 18th green, along with the banners of every other nation represented in the 156-player field, was lowered to half-staff Friday.
The R&A, which organizes the British Open, has made black ribbons available for players and caddies to wear as a mark of respect to those who died in the attack in Nice.