Brooks Koepka pulls out of CJ Cup with knee injury

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Jeju (South Korea) (AFP)

Defending champion Brooks Koepka withdrew from the CJ Cup in South Korea on Saturday citing a knee injury.

"During the course of Friday's round, I slipped on wet concrete aggravating a previous injury to my left knee," said the world number one in a statement.

Koepka last month had stem cells injected into a partially torn tendon in his left patella, a knee injury that had been troubling him for months.

Koepka said that he had often been limping, especially walking downhill, but it had not affected his swing.

"After consulting with my doctor, I have been advised to withdraw from the CJ Cup and head home for further tests," he said.

"I appreciate everyone's concerns and support. I'll keep you posted as I learn more."

In Friday's second round, Koepka shot a three-over par 75 and fell out of contention to repeat his win of 12 months ago at the US PGA Tour's $9.75 million tournament in South Korea, 13 shots adrift of leader Justin Thomas.

The withdrawal of a major drawcard before Saturday's third round at Nine Bridges Golf Club on the picturesque Jeju Island will come as a blow to the tournament.

Koepka was not entered for next week's inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan, but the injury setback will now cast doubts on his participation in the prestigious WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai the week after.