ZALATORIS CLAIMS VICTORY:
WILL Zalatoris, a collegiate player with Wake Forest, came into round four two-strokes off the pace-setters in the final group. After teeing off on the first hole a group ahead of round three leaders Nahum Mendoza and Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Zalatoris exuded confidence in his quest to become champion.
After making bogey on the par-4 third hole, Zalatoris would correct his front nine by making a birdie-four on the diabolical par-5 seventh hole and another on the par-5 ninth hole to close out his outward half in one-under 35.
With the leaders behind him, Zalatoris made the turn in a position very familiar to him in his young amateur career – within striking distance of a title.
Hoey struggling to find the back of the cup on his day and falling out of contention coupled with Mendoza not wavering in his play nor climbing the leaderboard, the growing crowd of 100+ members and onlookers shared a nervous energy that the championship was going to go down to the wire.
After plunking a tee-shot into the green-side hazard on the par-3 16th, Zalatoris took two-steps back with a double-bogey five and went from one clear of Mendoza to one behind with only two holes remaining.
Zalatoris would make a clutch par on 17 and follow it up with making a clutch up-and-down birdie from 60 yards to close out his round at -4 on the 18th. He would post four-round totals of