Will Zalatoris missed two PGA Tour playoffs in 2022. On Sunday he finally made his breakthrough in a playoff.
He outlived Sepp Straka for victory, the first of his tour career, in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first tournament of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Zatoris bogeyed the third playoff hole, #11 at TPC Southwind to earn the win. He and Straka finished the regulations tied at 15 under par.
“It was a grind,” Zatoris told NBC Sports after the win. “This week I didn’t have my best stuff on Thursday and I just kept telling it [caddie Joel Stock] just wait until the weekend and see that decision pay off in the end is pretty cool.”
It certainly wasn’t easy. Zalatoris’ shot from the final hole almost went into the water, but the ball bounced around the rock border eight times before finally coming to rest on grass. Straka’s shot went into the water. Zlatoris took a drop and then hit a wedge 7 feet from the hole. He made the putt to seal the win.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 14, 2022
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Zlatoris started the event with a shot on target in his first round but jumped back into the lead by going under 7 in the second round, level on points with Tyler Duncan for the best second round in the field. He went 5 under in the third round and was four under in the fourth. Straka was at least 2 under every round.
The win was a milestone for several reasons, not only did it put him past Scottie Scheffler and into first place in the FedEx Cup Playoff standings.
How many PGA Tour wins does Will Zatoris have?
The win could mean Zulatoris is the golfer everyone is chasing on their way to the BMW Championship, but for Zatoris it meant much more. It was his first career win on the PGA Tour.
According to the PGA Tourhe is the first player since Camilo Villegas in 2008 to achieve his first PGA Tour win during the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Before Sunday, Zlatoris was 0-2 in the 2022 playoffs. He lost to Luke List on the first extra hole at January’s Farmers Insurance Open and then came up short in a three-hole playoff against Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship in May.
MORE: Why Cameron Smith was penalized in Round 3 of the FedEx St. Jude Championship
His only other professional win came on July 4, 2020 when he won the TPC Colorado Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Before Sunday, Zlatoris had set the PGA Tour record for most money earned in a winless season with just over $6.5 million. per PGA Tour. He added $2.7 million to that Sunday total by winning in Memphis.
How old is Will Zalatoris?
Zalatoris was born on August 16, 1996, which means he was 25 years old when he won the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Of the players who entered the top 15 in the playoff standings at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, only Sungjae Im (24) and Cameron Young (25) are younger.
Zulatoris is now on the verge of becoming the second youngest FedEx Cup Playoff champion since the playoffs began in 2007. Jordan Spieth won the title in 2015 at the age of 22.