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Will Zalatoris, who hasn’t played since late March after undergoing back surgery, said Friday he is targeting a September return to the PGA Tour.

For the first time in the past two years, Zalatoris is pain-free, he said on ESPN’s “Matty & the Caddie” PGA Championship simulcast.

“No headaches, no leg pain,” Zalatoris said. “This is the best I’ve felt. I feel great.”

Zalatoris, ranked No. 9 in the world, is the only player in the top 100 not playing in this week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.

A year ago, Zalatoris lost to Justin Thomas in a playoff at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That wasn’t the only time he contended at a major last season; he tied for second at the U.S. Open after battling eventual winner Matt Fitzpatrick of England down the stretch.

Zalatoris, 26, went on to win his first PGA Tour title at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

He pulled out of the following event, the BMW Championship, after two rounds. He sat out the Tour Championship because of herniated disks in his back.

Zalatoris played six tournaments in early 2023 before withdrawing from the WGC-Match Play and the Masters. The Monday after the Masters, he announced he underwent a microdiscectomy to treat his ailing back.

Zalatoris will not qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs after his injury absence, so the earliest he could return to the tour is the fall slate starting in mid-September.

Information from Reuters was included in this report.

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Will Zalatoris targeting September return from back surgery