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Professional golfer arrested after trying to meet 15-year-old girl, police say

A professional golfer was arrested in Florida on Thursday after sending explicit messages and trying to meet up with an undercover officer posing as a teenage girl, authorities said.

Orlando police said Daniel Bowling was “a dangerous online predator” who thought he was meeting a 15-year-old girl he’d chatted with online. Instead, the person was the officer pretending to be a teen, officials said.

Bowling, 26, first contacted the decoy in early April through AdChat, a messaging platform, according to police. The conversations “turned sexual in nature within the first 24 hours and intensified quickly,” authorities said.

Daniel Bowling.Jennifer Perez / PGA TOUR via Getty Images file

He was arrested on Thursday as he attempted to meet up with the decoy, according to police. Bowling was booked into the Orange County Jail on 12 charges, including obscene communication, traveling to meet with a minor and attempted lewd and lascivious molestation, officials said.

“Unfortunately, there are potentially hundreds of predators like Mr. Bowling online,” said Jennifer Wing of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “I hope news of today’s arrest encourages parents to be more proactive in monitoring their children’s lives online.”

Bowling said in an Instagram post last week that he was playing pre-qualifying rounds of the U.S. Open at the Orange Tree Golf Club in Dr. Phillips, an area just southwest of Orlando. During the qualifying game on May 5, Bowling scored a 78 and placed in the T35 position, which did not qualify him, according to the Florida State Golf Association.

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

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