Golf

Who Is Will Zalatoris, the PGA Tour Rookie in Contention at The Masters?

Looking at the 2021 Masters leaderboard heading into the final round, golf fans will recognize most of the names at the top. Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth are all in contention to win entering Sunday, but one name sticks out like a sore thumb. That name is Will Zalatoris.

Zalatoris, who starts his final round at Augusta National four shots back of the leader, isn’t a well-known player on the PGA Tour, but he surely will be soon. Let’s get to know the talented rookie who has a real chance to win a green jacket this Sunday.

Will Zalatoris tore up the Korn Ferry Tour

Get to know Will Zalatoris: the skinny PGA Tour rookie who's already taking the golf world by storm and has a chance to win The Masters.
Will Zalatoris walks down the fairway at The Masters | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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You might have never heard of Will Zalatoris before the 2021 Masters simply because he’s only been on the PGA Tour circuit for a few months. He spent the 2020-21 season playing on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is basically the Minor Leagues of professional golf.

Zalatoris, a graduate out of Wake Forest and a former ACC Player of the Year, was absolutely dominant on the Korn Ferry Tour last year. In 16 events played, he won once and recorded 10 top-10 finishes. Zalatoris only finished outside of the top 25 one time all season long.

He finished the season as the leading points-getter on the Korn Ferry Tour points list with $403,978 in winnings. His stellar play earned him an invitation to play in the 2020 U.S. Open, and he said hello to the golf world with a sixth-place finish in his first major championship start. He even sank a memorable hole-in-one on the 7th hole in the first round at Winged Foot.

Zalatoris earned a special temporary membership on the PGA Tour after the 2020-21 Korn Ferry season, and he has already established himself as one of the most consistent players on Tour.

Zalatoris has risen nearly 2,000 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking

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Back in 2018, Will Zalatoris was still a nobody looking for his shot in professional golf. He had a stellar college career at Wake Forest, but he hadn’t yet broken through as a pro. At the time, he was ranked No. 2,006 on the Official World Golf Ranking. Yes, it goes that high.

But in just the last three years, Zalatoris has vaulted up the OWGR all the way to No. 46 in the world. And truthfully, he’s much better than that. In 14 events played on the PGA Tour this season, Zalatoris has five top-10 finishes and 10 top-25s. He’s only missed one cut all year.

Zalatoris will be ranked as a top-20 player in the world in no time.

Zalatoris in contention at the 2021 Masters

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Zalatoris hasn’t recorded a win on the PGA Tour just yet, but he has a realistic chance to win his first title at the 2021 Masters. The talented rookie enters the final round four shots back of leader Hideki Matsuyama.

If he does triumph at Augusta National this Sunday, Zalatoris will become the first PGA Tour rookie to win a green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Even if he doesn’t walk away with a Masters victory this weekend, great success is surely in store for the 24-year-old talent.

All stats courtesy of PGA Tour