Perth prodigy Jarryd Felton has withdrawn from the Isuzu Queensland Open with a debilitating back injury.
An emotional Felton, 20, will fly home to Western Australia tomorrow with his immediate playing future in doubt, fearing a fourth serious flare-up of injuries in his hips and lower back.
The Golf Australia national squad member blames a 46-hour trip from Chicago to Perth via Los Angeles and Brisbane after the recent Western Amateur in the United States as the cause of his problem.
A short rest in Perth before flying to Brookwater seemed to help, but Felton, who had been considering turning professional this summer, said he knew after six practice holes on Monday that he was “in trouble”.
“I’ve had a history of these type of things and it’s something I can’t push when it happens,” said Felton, who was restricted to walking the course on Tuesday before deciding to withdraw today without swinging a club.
“It’s really painful, but the worst thing is knowing what I’ve gone through before and hoping it’s not a recurrence of that.
“The best case is that it’s just a back injury, maybe a swollen disc … and that it will get better with rest and treatment.
“I don’t really want to think about the worst case … I’m just going to analyse it all for now with (Golf WA physio) Martin Mcinnes and we’ll take it from there.
“It’s not a case of thinking surgery or anything right now, it’s just time to see what’s wrong and make a plan from there.”
Felton, based at Gosnells Golf Club in suburban Perth, has been in exemplary form this year, remarkably going unbeaten as the No.1 seed for WA in the Interstate Series.
He also had two great results touring with an Australian team to South America, finishing runner-up at both the Southern Cross Invitational and in the Argentina Strokeplay Championship.
But he has a history of having lengthy breaks with injury having spent more than six months out after separate hip surgeries as a young teenager, then again missing several months after a bulging disc in his back two years ago.
“I’ve had these things before and Marty and all my team in WA have said to me that I just will have to work through these things throughout my career,” a stoic Felton said.
“They’ve basically said that I just have to work six times harder than the average player on my fitness and … keeping these things (at bay).
“Hopefully it’s just something minor this time. I’ll just go back to Perth tomorrow and … get to the bottom of it.
“It just means I’ll have to go even harder on these things when I come back. It’s not going to stop me.
“It’s just something we will figure out and hopefully … get it to the point where it doesn’t keep happening in the future.”