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Open is a pain in the neck for injured Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa watches his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the British Open golf Championship at Muir
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa watches his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the British Open golf Championship at Muir

By Martyn Herman

GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Former champion Louis Oosthuizen withdrew from the British Open halfway through his opening round on Thursday with a recurrence of a neck-related injury.

The South African, a surprise winner at St Andrews in 2010, had labored to four over par after eight holes on a baking Muirfield course when he quit on the ninth.

Oosthuizen, 30, had just double-bogeyed the par-three seventh and followed that with a bogey on eight when he called time on his round after his tee shot on the ninth.

After shaking hands with playing partners Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell he was taken away in a buggy.

He later said the injury would prevent him playing at the year's final major, the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, New York.

"I'm bitterly disappointed to have to pull out of the Open and it looks likely now I am going to have to take some time off and give my neck the rest I've been told it needs," he said.

"I thought I would be okay today as I warmed up pretty well on the range hitting balls.

"But then as the round progressed the pain in my neck translated into my hips and I just found it increasingly uncomfortable to walk.

"The Open means so much to me and to have to withdraw in this manner is extremely disappointing on top of also having to pull out of (the U.S. Open at) Merion."

It is the third time this year he has been forced out of a tournament with the injury. He quit the U.S. Open after finishing his opening round.

Before that he managed to complete only three rounds at the Byron Nelson tournament.

Sweden's Peter Hanson managed only five holes before a back injury also forced him out on Thursday.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Stephen Wood)

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