One week after his joint best performance of the year, Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam was forced to pull out of the £1 million Mallorca Classic first round at Pula yesterday.
The 47-year-old Welshman injured his right shoulder teeing off on the fifth hole, battled on for 11 more, but then quit after hitting a shot out of bounds from deep rough on the 17th.
Woosnam, fifth in the Madrid Open on Sunday, was one-over-par at the time. Leader come the end of the day's play was England's Jonathan Lomas with a fiveunder 65.
"I was doing all right, but I felt another twinge and was only playing with a one-iron the last six holes," said Woosnam.
The former US Masters champion blamed the problem on "hitting it too hard when you are too old" and added: "I guess I've had it before, but not as bad as that.
"It's gone into my lung and I felt winded. All I was trying to do was get it on the fairway. This was my last tournament of the year and it's a disappointing way to finish. I'll go and have a rest now."
John Bickerton, winner of the Abama Open de Canarias a fortnight ago, continued his run of good form to push his way onto the leaderboard on a good day for Midlands challengers.
The Droitwich Spa player carded a three-under-par 67 to lie two shots behind Lomas. Lomas,
attached to the Hill Valley GC, birdied his final hole to take a one-shot lead. The 37-year-old Scot, whose previous win came in the 1996 Czech Open, will be eyeing a second title that would also earn him a place in the in the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai next month.
Fellow Englishman Mark Foster and Ireland's Gary Murphy are joint-second and Bickerton would have joined them, only to bogey the 18th hole to go with his four birdies.
Atherstone's Paul Broadhurst also enjoyed a promising opening day with a threebirdie 67 for a share of fourth place alongside fellow Englishmen Sam Little and Simon Khan, runner-up to Sergio Garcia 12 months ago.
David Park, from Hereford, had a roller-coaster 68. He picked up five birdies but spoiled his card with three bogeys.
Robert Rock, from Lichfield, could not have wished for a worse start after dropping shots on the first, second and third but three birdies brought him level-par. Another bogey followed by a birdie left him with a 70.
Khan, meanwhile, moved into contention with his 67, but was worried he might be fined an incredible £16,000 for slow play.
Khan, penalised twice this season, found himself being timed again after his group fell behind the threesome in front and said: "As you can imagine it's not a nice thing when you know 16 grand is looming."
The 33- year- old from Essex, runner-up in the event to Garcia last year, avoided falling foul of the European tour regulations this time, with senior referee Andy McFee stating: "I timed the group for three holes, but Simon had no problem - he was not even close."
In May the former Wales Open champion was fined £4,000 at the British Masters and then the following week he was docked double that by McFee for taking 16 seconds too long over a shot during the Irish Open.
Defending champion Garcia shot 69, the same as Jose Maria Olazabal, while 2003 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 67.
In the battle to stay on the European tour, Scot David Drysdale - 115th on the Order of Merit - opened the door to the chasing pack by slumping to a 78.
At the end of the tournament on Sunday the top 116 earn cards for next season. Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, in the hot-seat, returned a 71 and the player best placed to capitalise is 118th-ranked Little.