MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — 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.
LPGA TOUR AND LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR
BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (AP) — 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.
Stark finished at 20-under 271, five shots clear of Allisen Corpuz, who closed with a 68.
The tournament was held at Galgorm Castle and Massereene, played concurrently with an official European tour event. The men and women competed for the same prize fund, with Stark collecting a career-high $225,000 from the $1.5 million purse.
BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (AP) — 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.
Virto closed within a shot thanks to five birdies in seven holes around the turn but a bogey at No. 14 all but ended his title challenge.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. (AP) — 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.
KORN FERRY TOUR
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Robby Shelton won the Pinnacle Bank Championship to close the Korn Ferry Tour regular season.
Shelton shot a 6-under 65 for a one-stroke victory over Ben Taylor (68). Shelton finished at 17-unsder 267 at The Club at Indian Creek for his second victory of the season and fourth on the tour.
The top 25 in the regular-season standings earned PGA Tour cards, with Carl Yuan Carl Yuan of China taking the top spot. Shelton was second, followed by Paul Haley II, Zecheng Dou and Taylor Montgomery.
U.S. GOLF ASSOCIATION
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) — Saki Baba routed Monet Chun of Canada 11 and 9 to become the second Japanese winner in U.S. Women’s Amateur history.
The 17-year-old Baba won the last six holes, ending the match with a birdie on the par-3 27th hole at Chambers Bay. Baba joined 1985 champion Michiko Hattori as the only Japanese winners.
Baba was one of four amateurs to make the cut in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles, tying for 49th. She shared medalist honors and reached the round of 32 in the U.S. Girls’ Junior at The Club at Olde Stone.
Nitithorn Thippong of Thailand holed a 15-foot par putt on the final hole or a 3-under 69, then had to wait nearly an hour to capture the International Series-Singapore on the Asian Tour by one shot. Lightning led to a 40-minute delay as the final group behind Thippong was on the 18th. Chan Shih-chang was tied but had driven in the water. Gavin Green missed a 15-foot birdie putt to force a playoff. Patrick Reed rallied with a 67 to tie for 31st. He received 0.312 world ranking points. … Freddy Schott of Germany closed with a 1-over 73 and still won the Frederikshavn Challenge in Denmark by three shots. Schott began the year with no status and now is leading the Challenge Tour points list. … Martin Rohwer and Merrick Bremner teamed for an 8-under 62 in the fourballs format to win by six shots in the Bain’s Whisky Ubunye Championship, a team event on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. … Chisato Iwai closed with a 3-under 69 for a one-shot victory in the NEC Karuizawa 72 Golf Tournament on the Japan LPGA. … Juli Inkster won the Land O’Lakes Legends Classic in Prior Lake, Minnesota, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-stroke victory. Inkster finished at 7-under 137. Leta Lindley was second after a 69. … Yan Liu of China won the Epson Tour’s Four Winds Invitational in South Bend, Indiana, beating Kiira Riihijarvi and Gabby Lemieux in a playoff.
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