2022 St. Jude Championship leaderboard, grades: Will Zalatoris escapes weird playoff with first PGA Tour win

The FedEx Cup Playoffs as soon as once more started in dramatic trend. For the second consecutive season, the primary postseason occasion wanted additional holes. In a three-hole battle between Sepp Straka and Will Zalatoris, it was Zalatoris who proved victorious after what can solely be described as a weird playoff.

Having traded pars on the 18th to kick off additional holes, the 2 returned to the tee. Zalatoris misplaced his tee shot proper, and it simply might have gone out of bounds. In the meantime, Straka discovered the hazard — narrowly avoiding the water lining the left facet of the green within the course of. They each would in the end make unconventional pars, however that’s the place issues would cease being regular.

With Zalatoris’ tee shot discovering (and inexplicably staying on) the rocks within the hazard on the par-3 eleventh, it set the stage for Straka to assert his second PGA Tour title of the season. But, in a shocking second, he too discovered the penalty space. Straka was unable to seek out the inexperienced together with his third shot, and together with his compounding errors, Zalatoris’ maiden victory was firmly in his grasp.

It’s virtually poetic that Zalatoris’ first journey to the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour occurred in such a method, as his path to his level has been as irregular as they arrive. Whereas he’s the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Yr, the Wake Forest product was an omission from final season’s FedEx Cup Playoffs as a result of he was not a full-time member. Since then, he has added heartbreak after heartbreak, dropping in a playoff to Justin Thomas on the PGA Championship and simply lacking out on one on the U.S. Open.

Inevitably, it felt this might occur once more after his tee shot on the ultimate playoff gap, however the golf gods had a method of intervening. Very similar to Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele, the extra one positions themselves late on Sunday, the extra typically the breaks — or ought to I say bounces — go one’s method.

That is very true of Zalatoris, because it was by no means a matter of “if” he would win on the PGA Tour, however quite “when.” His second lastly arrived at TPC Southwind. Together with his St. Jude Championship title, he has ascended to the highest spot within the FedEx Cup standings. Now, he has the potential to comply with within the footsteps of Patrick Cantlay and dash by the end line at East Lake and lift the FedEx Cup crown. Grade: A+

Right here is the breakdown of the remainder of the leaderboard on the 2022 St. Jude Championship

2. Sepp Straka (-15): Coming into the week off six consecutive missed cuts, when you informed Straka he would have a 9-iron in hand with an opportunity to win the event, he would have taken it in a heartbeat. He confirmed large resolve down the stretch, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot to match Zalatoris, who was within the group forward of him. Ultimately, it was not meant to be, however his play shows the ungodly depth presently on the PGA Tour. It additionally reveals {that a} participant’s fortunes can change on any given week. Grade: A+

T3. Lucas Glover: He was No. 121 at the beginning of the St. Jude Championship and will likely be leaving Memphis simply exterior the highest 50 of the FedEx Cup standings. With out a top-20 end for the reason that Texas Open in April, the previous U.S. Open champion performed his greatest golf of the season on the most vital time. Whereas his bogey on the 72nd gap might make dinner style a bit bitter, within the grand scheme of the postseason, it was a particularly clutch efficiency.

“It is good,” stated Glover. “Sort of comparable scenario a pair years in the past and had, you realize, one-and-a-half good weeks and ended up in Atlanta. That was form of behind my head and thought, you realize, simply acquired to get to the following week after which all people’s acquired a shot.” Grade: A+

T5. Tony Finau (-11): Trying to grow to be the primary man to efficiently defend a title within the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Finau gave it an awesome effort. Practically profitable in his third straight begin, the four-time PGA Tour winner have to be on the shortlist of potential gamers to boost the trophy at East Lake. Because it has been for the previous month, Finau’s recreation was robust all through the bag and could possibly be on the cusp of a postseason run. Grade: A

T5. Adam Scott (-11): He entered the week 77th within the FedEx Cup standings and performed himself properly contained in the top-70 cutoff level together with his top-five end result. The Australian didn’t play all too typically all through the 2021-22 common season, and the sport plan has confirmed to be fruitful. He ought to have loads left within the tank as he appears to climb inside the highest 30 subsequent week on the BMW Championship earlier than serving as a veteran presence for the Worldwide Workforce on the Presidents Cup in September.

“I performed actually poorly yesterday and one way or the other shot an honest rating, and to show it round and play strong as we speak and provides myself an opportunity to undergo,” stated Scott. “I am proud of that. I get to play 4 rounds subsequent week. And my golf’s been fairly good, and I’ve acquired nothing out of it. I really feel despite the fact that I am not profitable this occasion, I really feel like I am getting one thing out of the week, so hopefully that is good for the boldness going into subsequent week and one way or the other have a giant week and get by to East Lake.” Grade: A

T5. Jon Rahm (-11): The previous world No. 1 has had a quiet season with just one victory, however he could also be onto one thing. Ending his St. Jude Championship with a spherical of 4-under 66, Rahm captured yet one more top-10 end result within the FedEx Cup Playoffs and could also be one to regulate for the BMW Championship. He was his regular, regular self from tee to inexperienced round TPC Southwind, and the shortage after all data for gamers at Wilmington Nation Membership might assist his efforts on the greens relative to the competitors. Grade: B+

T13. Cameron Smith (-9): He was the betting favourite in a single day, however earlier than even hanging a golf ball Smith noticed his title drop from 11 below to 9 below. Assessed a two-stroke penalty half-hour earlier than his tee time on Sunday on account of an improper drop throughout his third spherical, the Champion Golfer of the Yr was instantly put behind the eight ball. He did his greatest to shrug it off as he made birdie on his opening gap, however he in the end stalled. It could have been a giant day for Smith; with a win, he would’ve ascended to world No. 1 and FedEx No. 1, and he’d be the prohibitive favourite to be named Participant of the Yr. As a substitute, he should wait till subsequent week for an additional alternative to perform such feats. Grade: B

T13. Justin Thomas (-9): The 2020 winner at TPC Southwind by no means threatened the leaders, as a poor third spherical was his undoing. After opening with back-to-back rounds of 67, Thomas signed for a 1-over 71 on Saturday. Regardless of the frustration, the previous FedEx Cup champion ought to take loads of positives into the ultimate two weeks of the season. Capturing a top-20 end, Thomas ranked fourth in strokes gained tee to inexperienced courtesy of beautiful efforts each off the tee and across the inexperienced. If he’s to expertise a typical effort together with his irons subsequent week, he ought to have a sensible alternative to seize his second BMW Championship. Grade: B-

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