Will Zalatoris is getting close to having a permanent place to play for the rest of this season.
Zalatoris, a former All-America at Wake Forest, needs to make around $3,500 on the Web.com Tour to receive full playing privileges for the rest of 2019. The benefit of that is the ability for Zalatoris to create a schedule that lends itself to a somewhat ordinary life.
“It’s obviously hard to keep trying the Monday qualifiers because anything can happen in those 18 holes,” said Zalatoris, who has played in seven Web.com Tour tournaments.
He’s 77th on the money list with $41,665 and is excited about what’s ahead.
“If I can get to just over $45,000 in earnings I’ll have that status on the Web.com Tour,” said Zalatoris, who is 22 and in his second year as a pro.
A year ago at this time, Zalatoris was playing in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island after qualifying.
He missed the cut but was optimistic about getting some traction on either the Web.com or PGA Tour in 2018.
That traction, however, never came as his putting let him down and wasn’t consistent as he would like.
“I’m actually now putting a lot better, and I’ve kind of gone to Webb Simpson’s style with a claw grip, and it’s working pretty well,” Zalatoris said.
One issue he had last year was deciding which events on which tour to attempt to Monday qualify. He used all seven of his PGA Tour exemptions last year, and doing that caused him to miss out on tournaments on the Web.com Tour.
“I had a couple of events lined up, and it was crazy to turn them down, but considering where I am this year I have to stay on the Web.com Tour path,” he said. “If I can keep progressing and keep improving, then that’s going to get me where I want to go.”
Zalatoris says it’s not far fetched that he can get on a hot streak and work his way into the top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list by the end of the season. If he can do that, he’ll be on the PGA Tour in 2020.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but thanks to his revamped team that includes Troy Denton (swing coach) and Josh Gregory (short game), Zalatoris is confident.
“They kind of changed how I view the game a little bit as far as my practice routines were concerned,” Zalatoris said. “I always thought I was doing it right, but they really pointed out some things where I can be more effective every time I’m out there working on my game. That’s been a big help.”
It’s been about eight months since Zalatoris started working with Denton and Gregory, and while it’s been a slow process, he can see the improvements. Instead of feeling mechanical about his swing Denton and Gregory have made Zalatoris more of a feel player.
“Getting away from being so mechanical has been big,” Zalatoris said.
One of Zalatoris’ improvements has been greens in regulation. For a while, he ranked No. 1 on the Web.com Tour in that statistic, and he is now ranked eighth. He says having more looks at birdie putts makes the game so much easier.
Two weeks ago, Zalatoris posted his best finish of the season, a ninth-place finish at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greer S.C. That, however, didn’t carry over to last week’s tournament in Springfield, Ill., where missed the cut after shooting 75-71. In seven tournaments this year, he has two other top-15 finishes.
“It’s a matter of continuing the process,” Zalatoris said. “We are in the middle of the summer now and I’m feeling good about my overall game. I know what needs to happen and I’m going to work hard and continue to move ahead.”