July 16, 2021

SANDWICH, England (Reuters) – American Will Zalatoris withdrew from the British Open before the start of his second round on Friday after he injured himself while hacking out of deep rough on the 15th hole.

Zalatoris, who had finished tied-eighth or better in three of his past four major starts, was making his Open debut this week and was in contention after Thursday’s opening round of one-under-par 69 at Royal St George’s.

“I am beyond disappointed to pull out of the Open Championship this week,” Zalatoris, 24, posted on Instagram.

“The second shot out of the heavy rough on #15 yesterday sent a tingling down my left leg and I have been advised to not take any further damage to my back.”

Zalatoris managed to save par on the 15th and birdied the next hole, but bogeyed the last two – including a one-foot miss on the 17th – to finish five strokes off the lead.

“I contemplated not finishing the round yesterday, but considering this is my first Open, I felt like I needed to finish the round (even if it meant embarrassing myself a little at the end ha!),” added Zalatoris, who remains without PGA Tour membership despite his impressive season.

“I tried to hit some balls in the morning and did some extra work in the gym with no improvement,” he added.

“I look forward to coming back as soon as I can.”

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)