Justin Rose an injury doubt for The Players after withdrawing mid-round at Bay Hill

Justin Rose hopes to be fit for next week’s Players Championship after withdrawing mid-round from the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to injury.

The Englishman completed just three holes of his third round, where he was playing alongside Jordan Spieth, before citing back spasms as the reason behind pulling out of the event in Florida.

Rose went into the weekend just four strokes off halfway leader Corey Conners and well positioned to challenge for a first worldwide victory since January 2019, only to quickly slip down the leaderboard on Saturday.

The former world No 1 got up and down from a greenside bunker to save par at the first and made a two-putt par at the next, where Spieth posted an incredible hole-in-one, before seeing his round quickly unravel at the par-four third.

Rose sent his tee shot into water and found the hazard with his next two efforts, then eventually found dry land with his next shot – his seventh – and two-putted for a quintuple-bogey nine.

The 40-year-old experienced further issues at the par-five next and was unable to reach the green in four shots, with Rose then calling time on his round and leaving Spieth without a playing partner.

“Disappointing to have to withdraw,” Rose said. “I just kind of woke up with a bit in a sort of spasmed lower back today and tried to kind of get through it. My warm-up was hard work and I just couldn’t stay down in a shot.

“I missed basically every golf shot left to start the day. Even my little chip into the fourth hole out of the rough from the left-hand side was creating pain.

“I just kind of, with the eye on next week and what have you, I just felt like it was a prudent call to call it at that point. I felt bad, with Jordan [Spieth] having momentum, to sort of change the vibe of the group.”

The world No 36 finished tied-second at the European Tour’s Saudi International last month but is without a top-10 on the PGA Tour since claiming ninth spot at August’s PGA Championship. Rose’s last victory came at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose is scheduled to tee it up again next week at The Players Championship, live on Sky Sports, where 49 of the world’s top 50 are set to feature at TPC Sawgrass. Live coverage begins on Thursday March 11 from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf.


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