Will Zalatoris opened with a 1-over 71 at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, but the scorecard didn’t tell the full story.
The 14th-ranked player in the world played the final four holes of the front nine in 3 over par Thursday, and that included a birdie at the seventh. What looks like bad golf on the scorecard could perhaps be explained as just a few bad breaks.
“I think yesterday might have been some of the worst luck I think I've had my entire professional career,” Zalatoris said after a second-round 63. “I got a stretch of three plugged balls in bunkers in four holes. I knew I was due for some good breaks.”
Friday was full of good breaks and good putts, as the Wake Forest product made seven birdies against no bogeys to climb from outside the cut line to within four shots of the lead.
Zalatoris is well known for his short-putting woes, but the putter was hot Friday morning in Memphis.
“I putted really nicely today, made a lot of up-and-downs,” Zalatoris said. “I think I had 23 or 24 putts today, so putted nicely. I made a lot of putts from 10 to 15 feet. Typically, I'm going to have more opportunities than any guys out here due to my ball-striking, but taking advantage of those are typically when I have rounds like today.”
It was 24 putts for the 25-year-old in the second round, which left him second in strokes gained: putting for the day.
Despite all his early success on the PGA Tour, Zalatoris is still seeking his first win.
Currently sitting 12th in the FedExCup standings, a playoff victory would be a good place to a start.