Cullan Brown has had difficult rounds on the golf course.
He's hit nearly impossible shots and made something of them.
Now, Brown is faced with his biggest challenge. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left leg.
Typically, osteosarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer, which - when it's eventually detected - has spread rapidly.
Brown is one of the lucky ones, in that respect. His was detected early, so the initial prognosis is good.
"So, what had happened was on July 30, I walked in to the foot-bench that was at the end of my bed," Brown said, describing the initial incident that took place about a week and a half after playing in the Barbasol Championship in Lexington. "It was late at night, I was going to bed and the lights were off, and I walked into the foot-bench. My knee started hurting and it never stopped."
The knee was first checked out by a local doctor, with some X-rays taken to determine if there were any broken bones. There weren't any, so he was sent home with instructions to take some ibuprofen and apply ice as needed.
As the pain continued, Brown - a sophomore golfer at the University of Kentucky - then consulted with doctors with UK's sports medicine department, who diagnosed him with a bone bruise. Brown was administered a cortisone shot in his knee and prescribed additional medication to treat it.
The pain still didn't go away. In fact, it worsened.
So, more detailed scans were ordered.
The scans found a tumor near Brown's kneecap.
He was then sent to a specialist at UK's Markey Cancer Center who works exclusively with bone tumors.
It was then that Brown was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
Last Monday, a final biopsy was performed to confirm or disprove the diagnosis. It came back positive.
But, that's where the relatively good news comes in.
"It's a localized osteosarcoma," Brown said. "It's not one that's spread throughout my body."
This week, Brown starts chemotherapy for the next 10 to 11 weeks. After that, the part of the bone that housed the tumor will be removed and reconstructed. An additional 18 to 20 weeks of chemotherapy will follow, hopefully eradicating definitively any and all cancer cells.
Of the proverbial clubs in the chemo-bag, his doctors elected to use the equivalent to the driver, going with an equally-aggressive medicine in an attempt to wipe out the cancer and take no chances that it's spread in an undetectable manner thus far.
But, with that comes a cost: Brown will be taking the year off from UK - both as a student and as an athlete. He'll be seeking a medical redshirt.
"The prognosis is very good," Brown said. "This is a cancer that everybody's told us is a very aggressive cancer and it likes to spread. The fact that all the scans show that it has not is major for the prognosis. That helps the outlook."
And the response from his family, friends, coaches and teammates?
Given everything that's gone on the last month, it's been as good as it can be, said Brown, who true to form is handling it with the same poise as he handles a typical round of golf.
"It's not the news anybody wants to hear," he said. "It's probably been worse on them that it's been on me. Everything has happened so fast and we're staying so busy that we're just focused on moving forward. I think we've all come to terms that it's a bad situation and it's a bad deal, and it's obviously a huge kink in the whole plan. But, it's a very fixable and curable issue. Basically, we're going to have to take a year and we're going to have to really, really focus on it and really fight it.
"Hopefully, after a year, we're just going to be able to look back on it and say, 'Dang. That was a bad year.'
"And, move forward."