Zalatoris opens playoffs with FedEx St. Jude victory
The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Will Zalatoris had the most money and the best world ranking of anyone without a PGA Tour victory. He changed that Sunday by winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship without making birdie in a three-hole playoff.
Heartache in two previous playoff losses this year — one in a major — turned into relief for Zalatoris after a wild finish in the TPC Southwind. It ended when he took a penalty drop from the rocks that frame the par-3 11th green and holed a 7-foot bogey putt to beat Sepp Straka.
Zalatoris moves into the top 10 in the world for the first time and takes the No. 1 spot in the FedEx Cup, assuring him a reasonable shot at the $18 million prize in two weeks.
He was clutch even if he was scrambling. It stated with a 10-foot par save on the 18th in regulation for a 4-under 66 to post at 15-under 265.
Straka, already a winner this year in the Honda Classic, narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt for the win on the 18th for a 67.
On the third extra hole, Zalatoris watched his tee shot hit the bank and then the rocks, and then the ball bounced seven times before coming to rest next to the lip of grass. He was in trouble, even if the ball was dry. But then Staka went right, took one bounce off the slope, one off the rocks and into the water.
Straka went into a back bunker and blasted out to 4 feet. Zalatoris studied his options on how to get off the rocks before wisely deciding to go to the drop zone. He hit his wedge to 7 feet and raised both arms over his head when the putt dropped. He won $2.7 million.
BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland — Maja Stark of Sweden closed with a 10-under 63 on Sunday and won the ISPS Handa World Invitational, her third victory this year on the Ladies European Tour and this one coming with a big perk.
The tournament is co-sanctioned with the LPGA Tour, giving the former Oklahoma State star access to join the LPGA Tour.
Stark stated the final round two shots behind Amanda Doherty and quickly seized control with a 31 on the front nine at Galgorm Castle. She had nine birdies through 14 holes and turned a tight race into a rout.
BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland — Ewen Ferguson of Scotland captured the second title of his rookie season on the European tour by winning the ISPS Handa World Invitational by three shots on Sunday.
Ferguson closed with a 1-under 69 to complete a wire-to-wire victory at Galgorm Castle, adding to his win at the Qatar Masters in March. He finished 12 under for the tournament.
Connor Syme and Borja Virto were tied for second place after closing rounds of 68.
The 26-year-old Ferguson took a three-shot lead into the final round but was reeled in by England’s Richard Mansell, who covered his first 10 holes in 5 under to tie for the lead.
Ferguson responded with his third birdie of the day at No. 10 and parred his way home, while Mansell dropped shots on three of the last four holes.
PGA Tour Champions
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Boeing Classic for his third PGA Tour Champions victory of the season, closing with a 5-under 67 to hold off David McKenzie by two strokes.
Jimenez, tied for the lead with Billy Andrade entering the round, birdied five of the first 12 holes and parred the last six. The 58-year-old Spanish star finished at 15-under 201 at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge.
Jimenez has 12 senior victories, winning two of the first three events this season. He won 21 times on the European tour.
McKenzie shot a 66. Andrade had a 71 to tie for third with Stephen Ames (69) at 11 under.