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A career day for golfer tempered by sadness

By By Jill Martin CNN
Published On: Jul 07 2014 11:30:26 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 07 2014 02:15:14 PM CDT
Golf ball on edge of hole

iStockPhoto / sculpies

(CNN) -

When George McNeill went to bed Saturday, he didn't envision the round of his life the next day at The Greenbrier Classic. He had a lot on his mind.

But that's exactly what he did at the PGA event, shooting a career-low 61 -- including a hole-in-one on the 8th hole.

With the sensational final day of the tournament at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, McNeill finished second to Angel Cabrera and qualified for golf's next major, The Open Championship later this month in Merseyside, England.

A memorable outing for sure. But it's not the full story.

The PGA had tweeted Sunday that McNeill was "dealing with family health issues this week."

That was in reference to his older sister, Michele, 46, who was dying from breast cancer, according to Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel.

McNeill had already announced that he had withdrawn from the John Deere Classic, which starts Thursday, to be with his family.

Michele died just 20 minutes before McNeill's tee time, and he got the news after he finished his round.

Afterward, he emotionally alluded to "things going on elsewhere" and got choked up when interviewed by CBS analyst Peter Kostis.

"I know it's really difficult, and I will not press the issue with you, but sometimes perspective comes in different forms, doesn't it?" Kostis asked.

"It does," McNeill answered. "Yeah, you go out and, you know, golf doesn't really mean a whole lot, so it's hard. I played good today, and I'm glad to finish, and it was a nice middle part of the round. So like I said, golf doesn't mean a whole lot sometimes."

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