Will Zalatoris made $403,978 in 16 Korn Ferry Tour starts this year, establishing himself as the best—and most handsomely paid—player on that circuit. The 24-year old thus earned a spot in the all-exempt field at the 2020 U.S. Open, where he finished T-6 alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
For breaking into the top 10 by carding 5-over par last weekend, Zalatoris more than matched his Korn Ferry Tour season earnings with a check for $424,040. He also received an exemption for next year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
“It was a great experience,” Zalatoris said about his U.S. Open effort. “I’ve been playing well all year. I just found out that obviously top 10 gets us into next year too, so that’s obviously pretty exciting.”
Zalatoris turned heads with his hole-in-one on Thursday at the 7th hole, accomplishing the feat roughly six hours after Patrick Reed did the same. He almost did it again at the 13th, only to have his ball ricochet off the flagstick.
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Far from being a one-hit wonder, Zalatoris battled Winged Foot all weekend, shooting 70-71 over the final two rounds on a difficult golf course that saw many of his opponents lose ground. The wiry San Francisco native clawed up the leaderboard to finish neck-and-neck with Johnson, this year’s FedEx Cup champion.
“I’ve been really working hard over the past couple of years, and nice to finally see it pay off on the big stage,” Zalatoris said.
“Pay off” is right.
Zalatoris will now attempt to keep the momentum going. He has finished T-19 or better in all 11 starts since golf returned in June, including six top-5 results and a win at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes.
Due to pandemic-necessitated changes to the qualifying process, Zalatoris will likely have to wait until the 2021-22 season to see full-time action on the PGA Tour. However, he will start at this week’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic, where a victory would earn him automatic PGA Tour status.
“I’m playing Puntacana (this) week. We’ve got two more events on the Korn Ferry Tour between now and the end of the year,” said Zalatoris. “Hopefully I’ll get a couple more (PGA) Tour starts between now and the end of the year.”
As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, PGA Tour fans are going to see a lot more of Will Zalatoris in the future.
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