Will Zalatoris earns first PGA Tour win at FedEx St. Jude Championship originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
At long last, Will Zalatoris is a winner on the PGA Tour.
The 25-year-old clinched his first victory by beating Austria’s Sepp Straka in a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday.
Straka was in second place at 12-under heading into Sunday’s final round, while Zalatoris was a stroke behind him at 11-under. The two players finished their rounds with an overall score of 15-under, putting them three strokes ahead of the field and setting up a two-man playoff.
Zalatoris narrowly missed a long birdie putt on the first playoff hole, No. 18, before Straka followed with a similar miss. Both players made their second putts to stay alive.
Zalatoris and Straka hopped into carts and rode back to the 18th tee box for the second playoff hole. Once again, they hit matching pars to extend the playoff.
The third playoff hole took the players to the par-3 No. 11. It was a spot where neither player bogeyed during their first four attempts during the weekend, but both players hit precarious tee shots from the jump.
Zalatoris was up first, and a handful of lucky bounces off the rocks surrounding the green kept his tee shot from splashing:
Straka wasn’t as fortunate, as his first shot set him back after landing in the water.
Straka was four strokes into the hole before Zalatoris ultimately decided to take the penalty and retreat to the drop zone for his next swing. His ensuing shot proved he made the correct decision, as he got within 10 feet of the hole. Zalatoris then drained his bogey putt to finally give him a PGA Tour title.
With the win, Zalatoris jumped to the top of the FedEx Cup standings. Scottie Scheffler, the leader in points heading into the event, missed the cut at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
The playoffs will now head to Wilmington Country Club for the BMW Championship starting on Thursday. The top 30 golfers from that event will reach the final playoff tournament, the Tour Championship, to determine a FedEx Cup winner.