Will Zalatoris' first trip to a British Open ended early on Friday, as the 24-year-old Wake Forest University product withdrew from the championship at Royal St. George’s with a back injury.
The slightly-built Zalatoris, who completed an opening-round 69 on Thursday, confirmed the pullout with an Instagram post.
Zalatoris injured himself chopping out of the deep rough on No. 15 during the first round. With an awkward stance and a hefty swing, Zalatoris advanced the ball, but immediately bent over in discomfort.
He explained in his social media post that the swing sent a “tingling” sensation down his leg. The pain worsened on Friday morning. He consulted with medical staff and was advised to not risk further injury to his back.
Zalatoris was enjoying a terrific season in the majors. Slotted No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, he finished second at the Masters in April, tied for eighth at the PGA Championship in May and tied for sixth at the recent U.S. Open. He was five shots off the lead at Royal St. George's on Friday morning when he had to pull the plug.
Zalatoris said he considered withdrawing immediately after the incident, but was determined to finish his first British Open round. He made par at No. 15, despite the injury, and birdied the par 3 16th. But he couldn’t keep it up, suffering bogeys at both Nos. 17 and 18.
“Considering this is my first Open,” he wrote, “I felt like I needed to finish the round (even if it meant embarrassing myself a little at the end ha!)”
Zalatoris said he initially attempted to hit balls and work out Friday morning but showed little improvement. He added he was “gutted” to have to stand down in the year’s final major. He added he anticipates returning to play “as soon as I can.”
More Day 2 British Open Coverage from Morning Read:
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- One Day After Ripping His Equipment, Bryson DeChambeau Says He 'Feels Really Bad About It'
- Could a Brit Finally Win a British Open? Several Contenders Have a Shot
- Morikawa Takes Run at Open Scoring Record, Shoots 64 to Surge Into Lead
- From Challenge Tour to British Open, Marcel Siem Plays Way into Contention
- Amateur Mattias Schmid Etches Name in Open Lore With Second-Round 65
- Will Zalatoris WD From Open, One Day After Painful Shot Out of Deep Rough
- Bryson DeChambeau Rips Gear, Says Driver 'Sucks' After Uneven Opening Round