Will Zalatoris Not Be Satisfied With Second Place

BROOKLINE, Mass. – As his putt approached the hole on the 18th green on Sunday evening, Will Zalatoris thought he was heading for a qualifier that would determine the US Open champion. The ball had to do is drop and Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick would sort things out in a two-hole filter.

“With about six feet to go, I thought I had it,” Zalatoris said. He had checked his phone earlier and seen what Paul Azinger, a NBC golf analyst and former PGA Tour specialist, was saying. “That everyone failed to keep up,” Zalatoris added.

“He continued, ‘I was the closest person all day. I was, like,’ thanks for the gift of comfort. ‘”

Zalatoris is increasingly accustomed to comfort gifts. Last month, he lost the PGA Championship to Justin Thomas in a qualifier against Southern Hills in Tulsa. He finished second to Hideki Matsuyama in the 2021 Masters, just seven months removed from the Korn Ferry Tour. And now, another second chance to finish in another major.

“Obviously it hurts to have three winners so far in my career in major,” he said. “Obviously we are doing the right thing. I would pay a lot of money for about an inch and a half, and I would probably be a three-time champion at this point. We will continue to do what we do.”

Zalatoris may look to the great Ben Hogan for a historical comparison. Hogan was repeatedly cited for failing to win a medal in the early and mid-1940s. He lost the qualifying match to Byron Nelson at the 1942 Masters after leading by three shots. He lost a place in the qualifiers in the 1946 Masters when he scored three from 12 feet, missing a 30-inch putt.

“It was not my time to win,” Hogan told The New York Times. “However, there is another year coming.” Two months later, at the US Open outside Cleveland, he again scored three goals in the 72nd hole, missing another short ball and came out on top with a win over Lloyd Mangrum. But later that year, he won the PGA Competition, the first of its nine major.

The difference is that unlike Hogan, who established himself as one of the first players in the game by regularly winning other tournaments, Zalatoris is still looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour. The consensus is that the Zalatoris set – especially the short putt – is his Achilles heel. Although he played well at the Country Club – until he missed the plane in the final hole in the final round – he entered the tournament at 160th place on tour in the set.

When asked what he thought of when he saw Zalatoris lined up, Collin Morikawa said, “I pray for him. I mean, look, I’m not going near the bush. .

And within 10 feet?

“We’ve seen squirrelly putts,” Morikawa said. “It’s not that I’m the best player and I’ve had a little squirreliness too, but I think we all get fingers crossed when we see it.”

Zalatoris had no trouble winning before reaching the PGA Tour. He won the 2014 US Junior Amateur title. At Wake Forest, he was the American Player of the Year with ACC. He twice won the Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship. He was on the team that won the 2017 US Walker Cup, which also featured Scottie Scheffler, who drew with Zalatoris for second place on Sunday, and Morikawa, who finished fifth.

This season, in addition to finishing in second place in the major leagues, Zalatoris finished second to Luke List in the Farmers Insurance competition. He finished sixth in the Masters, fourth in the Zurich Classic and fifth in the Memorial Tournament.

His world rankings have risen to 12th place and he is ranked 8th in the FedEx Cup standings. No golfer listed as top or bottom has done so without at least one win.

Sunday’s result at the Country Club was the seventh for Zalatoris to finish-10 in 12 events this year. He has finished in the top 10 in six of the eight major games he has played. It’s an interesting record – give a shining hole, or three.

“It’s just a small thing,” said Zalatoris, who turns 26 in August. “It’s not the same thing for everyone. We’re talking inches. It’s not like I finished second to four or five times a few times. It’s been one for all three. So I have to keep doing what I do. , the level of comfort is there. “

After Zalatoris analyzed his round and his ongoing fight to finally break the winner’s circle, he received a farewell gift from the American Golf Association: a silver medal for a second appearance.

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