MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The 10-foot par putt in regulation was so essential and the second so essential that Will Zalatoris does not bear in mind screaming out when he made it, “What are they gonna say now?”
It took three playoff holes to get the reply on Sunday within the FedEx St. Jude Championship, and it was extra alongside the traces of what they will not say.
Zalatoris is now not the very best on the PGA Tour with no victory.
Already a power within the majors, Zalatoris acquired that first win out of the best way with clutch putts and good choices to beat Sepp Straka and seize the primary FedEx Cup playoff occasion.
“It is arduous to say, ‘About time,’ when it is your second 12 months on tour, however it’s about time,” Zalatoris stated. “Contemplating all these shut finishes, it means so much.”
He may have been referring to his runner-up end to Hideki Matsuyama within the Masters final 12 months or the playoff losses at Torrey Pines and at Southern Hills within the PGA Championship or most just lately the putt that burned the sting of the cup that saved him from a U.S. Open playoff.
This one may have gone both approach, a playoff that featured three penalty drops in three holes, neither participant making birdie and Zalatoris successful on the par-3 11th with a bogey.
Zalatoris in bother from a fairway bunker on the 18th in regulation till he made that 10-footer for par at a 4-under 66. He was within the timber, near a boundary fence on the 18th on the second playoff gap, when he properly chipped out and made a 15-foot par putt.
Nothing was extra wild than the ultimate gap.
His tee shot hit the financial institution after which bounced seven occasions on the rocks earlier than coming to relaxation. Straka adopted with a shot that additionally hit the financial institution, took one bounce off the rocks and went into the water. An enormous break for Zalatoris? Probably not. He had no real looking shot.
Straka went to the drop zone, and his wedge went into the again bunker. He performed his fourth shot out to Four ft as Zalatoris was nonetheless going over his choices.
“Contemplating the place Sepp was and he had Four ft for five, there isn’t any cause for me to attempt that shot and make it financial institution proper into the grass and return within the water and rapidly I’ve misplaced the golf event,” Zalatoris stated.
He went to the drop zone, hit to 7 ft and let his raised palms drop over his head in aid when he made the successful putt.
Zalatoris strikes into the highest 10 on the planet for the primary time and takes the No. 1 spot within the FedEx Cup, assuring him an inexpensive shot on the $18 million prize in two weeks.
Straka, already a winner this 12 months within the Honda Basic, narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt for the victory on the 18th for a 67. He had a 25-foot putt for the win on the 18th on the primary playoff gap and needed to make a 7-footer the second time round to remain within the sport.
“This course is the place each shot you hit you are on the sting of your seat,” Straka stated. “Add the nerves of competing for a event to that, particularly for a playoff occasion, and yeah, it will possibly get slightly loopy.”
They completed at 15-under 265.
Straka, who performed bogey-free over the ultimate 13 holes in regulation, strikes to No. eight within the standings and is assured his first journey to the Tour Championship at East Lake.
Lucas Glover got here away with a comfort prize. The previous U.S. Open champion got here into the FedEx Cup playoffs at No. 121, realizing that solely the highest 70 advance to the subsequent event.
Glover closed with a 66 and wound up in a tie for third. Not solely was he amongst 4 gamers who moved into the highest 70, he now’s at No. 34 and has a superb probability of being a part of the highest 30 who go to the Tour Championship to play for that $18 million first prize.
Additionally transferring into the highest 70 had been Adam Scott, Andrew Putnam and Wyndham Clark, who had cause to suppose he had thrown away his possibilities when he performed a four-hole stretch in 4-over par and needed to save par on the 18th for a 72. Clark completed at No. 70 by three factors.
In the meantime, No. 1 on the planet stays with Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who missed the reduce and spent Sunday enjoying Pine Valley for the primary time.
British Open champion Cameron Smith may have changed Scheffler by successful and arrived on the TPC Southwind two pictures out of the lead. After which Smith was 4 pictures again with out hitting a shot. Smith was given a two-shot penalty when guidelines officers realized upon evaluation that when he took a penalty drop within the third spherical, the ball was nonetheless touching the crimson hazard line.
They checked with Smith, who confirmed it was touching the road. He birdied the primary gap, made just one different birdie, shot 70 and tied for 13th. Smith declined interview requests.