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Back pain knocks Pettersen out of Kia Classic

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Suzann Pettersen withdrew from the Kia Classic before Thursday’s start with back pain.

Pettersen, 32, released the news via Twitter.

“I tweaked my back Monday and haven’t been able to do much since,” Pettersen wrote.

David Leadbetter, Pettersen’s swing coach, told GolfChannel.com she did not hurt herself playing golf.

“She wasn’t doing anything, really,” Leadbetter said. “She finished a workout, felt stiff and her back went into spasms. She’s obviously upset, because she wanted to play this week.”

Pettersen, No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, also withdrew from the season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic, citing a mild shoulder injury.

The Kraft Nabisco Championship, the year’s first major, is next week. Pettersen hasn’t won at Mission Hills, but she's a contender nearly every year. Over the last seven years, she has finished second three times, tied for third once and also tied for fifth.

“With a major championship next week, she wanted to give herself time to get right,” Leadbetter said.