Will Zalatoris won the FedEx St. Jude Championship for the first time on tour with a thrilling fight against Sepp Straka on Monday.
With the win, Zalatoris moved the Rockets up to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings.
It was a tight contest until the end, when Straka made a birdie attempt to reach 14-under and tie Zalatoris for the lead at 10.
At that point the pair were two clear of the pack and could not be separated, Zalatoris salvaging par with a chip shot at the par-4 15th.
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Straka then matched Zalatoris’ birdie on 16 to tie his opponent on 15 over the final two holes.
It comes down to the final hole of the round, with Zalatoris coming up in the clutch to blow a major hole on 18, Straka needing a birdie to win the tournament.
The Austrian responded with a powerful shot to put himself in position, but missed the 22-footer on the left side, instead settling for par to force the final.
Straka took a gamble by driving into the water, but Zalatoris’ shot landed in the road as he was clipped right.
Zalatoris looked to have a chance to clinch victory after a heavy putt from Straka, but the Austrian came up with the clutch to save par and send him to another hole.
Zalatoris got up first on the second playoff hole and hit it far near the fairway, but just as he got in, Straka’s tee shot went left, short of the water and into the mud.
When the American responded with a strong layup, Straka decided to take a stroke penalty, which was able to put pressure on Zalattoris with an incredible shot.
The 25-year-old came up big though with a clutch putt to save, which Straka matched to send the tournament to the third hole.
The drama was certainly not over yet in the third as Zalatoris T’s shot bounced off the rock wall before settling and Straka sent his right into the water.
Straka then put his next shot into the defence, and after a heated argument with his team, Zalatoris opted to head into the drop zone.
Zalatoris proved the correct call in the end as he stepped close to the hole to successfully putt seven feet for bogey and the win.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Zalatoris, who returned to nine shots in 86th place after the first round, looking more likely to make the cut than win it all.
Believing that Zalatoris’ fiancee won’t be leaving much, she asks him what he has planned for the weekend.
“She was in good spirits,” Zalatoris told reporters, asking her what she had answered.
“I told her we’d cross that bridge when we got there,” Zalatoris said, and he didn’t.
Instead, Zalatoris recovered to take the lead a few shots into the final round and go on to win his first PGA Tour title.
Elsewhere, Cameron Smith’s final round at the FedEx St Jude Championship may not have gone to plan but it was a different story for Australian Adam Scott on Monday.
Scott entered the FedEx Cup at No. 77, needed to break into the top-70 to play in the second week, and did so with a brilliant final round.
The 42-year-old shot a final-round 66 to move up to 44th in the rankings and secure a place in next week’s BMW Championship.
Scott was on top of the leaderboard in 11th place midway through the final lap, but will surely settle for Monday’s final result.
“I played very poorly yesterday and somehow managed to get a good score and play hard today and give myself a chance to go through. I’m happy with that,” he told reporters.
“I can play four rounds next week. My golf was good and I have nothing, even though I didn’t win this event, I feel like I’m getting something out of this week and it’s good for confidence going into next week.”
“I feel like my game is in a good place this week where I’m not looking for anything. I would actually put my mind to something and make it happen.
“Sometimes that’s the hardest thing in my career at this point, week to week, always changing minds, sometimes drifting on autopilot and that doesn’t get you very far.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Smith, the favorite going into the final round, suffered a two-stroke penalty in his bid to become world number one.
Final leader board
T1 – Will Zalatoris (-15)
T1 — Sep Straka (-15)
T3 — Lucas Glover (-12)
T3 – Brian Harman (-12)
T5 — Trey Mullinax (-11)
T5 – Matt Fitzpatrick (-11)
T5 — Tony Finau (-11)
T5 – Andrew Putnam (-11)
T5 – Adam Scott (-11)
T5 – Colin Morikawa (-11)
T5 — Jon Rahm (-11)