Palmer event more for Zalatoris than just another tourney

Genesis Invitational runner-up looks to maintain success

Will Zalatoris and his coach
Pro golfer practices putting with his coach at Tuesday's Arnold Palmer Invitational practice round (Photo by: Evan Davidson) 

BAY HILL, Fla. — Will Zalatoris hopes to build on the momentum from his last start as he prepares for the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday.

The tournament is one he holds near and dear to his heart as he received the Arnold Palmer Scholarship to attend Wake Forest University.

Zalatoris shot two-under par to finish in a tie for second place at the Genesis Invitational two weeks ago, a remarkable feat considering he missed nearly eight months as he recovered from back surgery. 

“The changes feel great” said the Californian, at Tuesday’s presser during the practice rounds. “I haven’t had any flare ups or anything like that, so I feel awesome.”

As a Demon Deacon himself, Palmer initiated a scholarship that would bring amateur golfers to the North Carolina campus. Going to the same school and receiving the scholarship from one of golfs legends, has not been lost on San Fransisco native. 

“Even though I never got to meet him, the guy’s meant a lot to me personally and my career and led me to Wake Forest”, said Zalatoris. “The guy’s meant a lot to my career — I met my wife at Wake Forest.”

The invitational is one of three signature PGA events meaning that the playing field consists of the top 70 players instead of the usual 120 participants — conditions reminiscent of the majors, making it one of the more difficult events. 

“Yeah, the competition is obviously very stiff, there’s no question about it. We’ve had quite a few first-time winners on TOUR this year” said Zalatoris. “Having 50 less guys, there’s no question about it, that’s a different feel, for sure”.

“I’ve only played in one, but it’s kind of fun when you walk up and everybody you see is pretty much a top player”.

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Posted: Mar 6 2024 6:46 pm
Filed under: Golf Sports