Mere days after a runner-up finish at the first event of the Web.com Tour Finals, Patrick Cantlay has withdrawn from this week's Chiquita Classic, citing an ailing back.
'I haven’t felt good for a long time,' Cantlay said in a release. 'Ever since I hurt my back at the Colonial. My back never healed and I came back knowing I had to play to try and salvage my season and stay in the top-25.'
Cantlay, a former All-American at UCLA, withdrew from Colonial in May with a back injury and took nearly three months off recovering from a hairline fracture in his L5 vertebrae.
The 21-year-old returned for the final two events of the Web.com Tour regular season in mid-August – only to miss the cut at the News Sentinel Open and Cox Classic – before last week’s second-place finish, for which he earned $108,000.
“I never felt healthy the past couple of weeks,' he said. 'My back was hurting last week, especially coming out of the rough on Sunday. Like I said, I don’t want to blame anything on my back. I just didn’t play well at times and I missed a lot of chances.'
Cantlay co-led last week's Hotel Fitness Championship through 54 holes before shooting 72 Sunday to lose to Trevor Immelman by one. Cantlay missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the final green that would have forced a playoff.
“I was lucky enough to play well last week so that I don’t have to take a lot of chances with my back,' he said.
Cantlay, who is trying to earn his PGA Tour card through the new Web.com qualifying system after spending nearly a year atop the world amateur rankings, also hinted that this might be more than a one-week absence as he focuses on his health.
'I’m just going to take it day-to-day right now,' he said. 'I won’t play until I feel confident that I know I won’t hurt it again.
“I went home to California on Monday. I was committed to playing this week and would have if I felt completely healthy. It’s disappointing that I won’t get a chance to play in the Chiquita Classic but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make it this week.”