Will Zalatoris sinks 25-foot birdie putt at Shriners

In the third round of the 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Will Zalatoris makes a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole.

LAS VEGAS – Things could certainly come up big for Will Zalatoris Sunday in Las Vegas.

Playing on a sponsors invitation, the standout Korn Ferry Tour player carded his second consecutive 7-under 64 in the third round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to move to 17 under and just three shots off the lead.

The 24-year-old leads the Korn Ferry Tour points list halfway through their “super season” which is a combined 2020 and 2021 cumulative due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a regular season he would already have been a KFT graduate on the PGA TOUR but instead he must continue his form and bide his time until the 2021-22 season.

That is unless he earns it earlier.

Zalatoris can make the jump immediately if he wins on the PGA TOUR, something within reach come Sunday. And if not, he still has plenty of motivation to finish high up the leaderboard.

A missed cut last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship came after 13 straight top 20s on the KFT and PGA TOUR combined, including a sixth place finish at the U.S. Open.

“I know I've had some success on every level so far in my career, but obviously having that high of a finish and competing against the best in the world and finally doing it, it's one thing to tell yourself that you can do it, it's another actually doing it,” the Texan said after Winged Foot.

Zalatoris is ranked 71st in the world, the highest ranked American without status on the PGA TOUR or European Tour. He sits ahead of Jordan Spieth (75th), Brandt Snedeker (78th) and Cameron Champ (79th) just to name a few.

He entered this week at TPC Summerlin with 185 non-member FedExCup points, needing just 103 more to match No. 150 in the 2018-19 FedExCup and gain Special Temporary Membership.

This would allow Zalatoris to apply for and accept an unlimited amount of sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the 2020-21 season instead of being restricted to a maximum of seven. A top five finish on Sunday would likely secure this perk.

From there he just needs to ensure his non-member points keep pace with the 125th player in the current FedExCup season to secure his playing privileges next season.

A finish in the top 10 would of course add more points to his total, but also secure another start that does not count against his seven. That would come at the Bermuda Championship on Oct 29-Nov 1.