Will Zalatoris tied for second in the Masters Tournament going into Sunday. He may be the least surprised.
When asked what his reaction would be if somebody would have told him at the beginning of the week he would be tied for second heading into Sunday of the Masters, Will Zalatoris had a simple response:
He followed that up with, “I’ve been playing some great golf and I’ve been preaching pretty hard about, you know, kind of how lucky I am to be here, considering the last 17 months. Like I said, I’ve been playing some great golf and it’s nice to see I’ve been playing well in the majors so far in my career.”
It’s been a dream first Masters for Zalatoris, who shot 1-under 71 on Saturday to tie Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and Justin Rose for a four-way tie for second heading into the final round.
Overall, Zalatoris said he thought he played well Saturday, despite play being suspended for an hour and a half due to weather. Like many, he said slower greens affected a few of his shots, including an attempt on No. 13 in which he was looking to play behind the hole and get some backspin.
As much as Zalatoris is competing at a high level, he’s also taking time to appreciate being at Augusta National.
“You’ll see me every time I’m on 12, kind of looking back when we cross the bridge back at Amen Corner, just enjoy it. I’ve been wanting to do this my entire career and I’ve put myself in a pretty good spot and obviously I’m four shots back and I’ve got a good chance,” Zalatoris said.
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One experience he said he’ll be leaning on going into Sunday’s final round is the importance of the 18th green. Throughout his young career, he said he has had key moments on various No. 18 greens and Sunday will be no different.
On Saturday, it was a putt that stayed left of the hole on a birdie attempt, which would have put him 8-under and in the final group of the day. He had to tap-in for par and will now be in the third pairing with Corey Connors.
In the past he said he has needed to make putts on the 18th green to make a cut, get in a playoff or simply make a Monday qualifier. Zalatoris said he’s going to lean on those experiences going into Sunday, just as he did to put himself in contention for a green jacket.
“I’ve wanted to put on a green jacket my entire career and I’ve got a good opportunity to do it,” Zalatoris said.