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British Open 2021: Will Zalatoris WDs prior to Round 2

Warren Little/R&A

Will Zalatoris has withdrawn from the Open Championship prior to his Round 2 tee time.

Zalatoris, 24, was in contention after Day 1 thanks to a one-under 69. However, cameras caught Zalatoris looking uncomfortable after muscling out an approach from the gorse on Royal St. George’s 15th hole Thursday. Zalatoris also had an unwanted viral moment during his round, badly missing a short putt.

In a statement, Zalatoris confirmed the shot on the 15th led to injury.

"I am beyond disappointed to pull out of the Open Championship this week,” Zalatoris said. “The second shot out of the heavy rough on No. 15 yesterday sent a tingling down my left leg and I have been advised to not risk any further damage to my back. 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!)

"I tried to hit some balls this morning and did some extra work in the gym with no improvement. I am completely gutted to not be moving forward in the championship. I look forward to coming back as soon as I can…thank you for the support."

Zalatoris was making his Open debut this week. He had finished T-8 or better in three of his past four major starts.

Despite his strong season, Zalatoris remains without PGA Tour membership. To earn entry into the FedEx Cup playoffs, Zalatoris would need to win before the postseason begins on Aug. 19.