Tampa Bay Times
Unknown no more
Maybe the first hint that Will Zalatoris had what it took came when he was 6 and Ken Venturi went over to him on a driving range to show him a grip that he hasn’t changed since. Or maybe it was at 11, when a pro named David Price said he could be great if he put in the work. Or maybe it was Sunday, when the 24-year-old finished alone in second at the Masters.
A skinny kid with mop-top blond hair and an unflappable sense of California cool finished one shot behind Matsuyama, his final round of 2-under 70 getting him to 9-under 279 for the week and into the spotlight for as long as he wants. “I’ve wanted to be in this position my entire life,” Zalatoris said. “I don’t need to shy away from it now. I’ve made it this far. Why now be timid? I thought I did a really good job of enjoying the moment but not letting it get to me, too.”
If he was an unknown to start the week, he isn’t anymore.
His first made putt Thursday got a few polite claps from about two dozen patrons behind the first green, most of whom were probably there to see one of his playing partners, two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer. His last putt of the week came with thousands of patrons at the 18th green giving him a standing ovation and a roar.
“It hasn’t sunk in,” Zalatoris said. “I think, if anything, it’s just the fact that I’m one shot short. It’s just kind of sitting right in front of me, thinking through where I could have found that one or two shots, really. That’s just golf every single week.”