Arnold Palmer Invitational: Will Zalatoris ‘plugs’ probabilities in sand


Halfway by means of the third spherical of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Will Zalatoris held a five-shot lead.

He was in cruise management, taking part in mistake-free golf and rolling in putts from in every single place.

Then, Zalatoris hit his tee shot into the greenside bunker on the par-3 14th, and his spherical started to unravel.

He couldn’t rise up and down to avoid wasting par, thus making his first bogey of the day.

That bogey dropped him again to 10-under for the championship, as he nonetheless maintained the lead.

“I performed very well,” Zalatoris mentioned. “You play 42 holes of bogey-free golf, and you are taking it. Clearly, the end wasn’t what I wished. That’s simply Bay Hill.”

Will Zalatoris, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Will Zalatoris hits his second shot on the fifteenth gap in the course of the third spherical of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photograph by Brennan Asplen/Getty Photos

However issues bought worse on the par-4 fifteenth, one of many most difficult holes at Bay Hill.

“I hit one dangerous tee shot on 15, and I’m mainly half plugged, hitting a burning tee shot in there,” Zalatoris mentioned.

He discovered the entice on the nook of the dogleg proper, and when he tried to take his drugs, his second shot caught the lip of the entice. Consequently, his ball scuttled 47 yards forward, settling within the deep tough.

“You hit some mediocre golf photographs, you’re going to get penalized actual fast,” Zalatoris added.

“Just like the shot I had on 15, I pushed it six yards proper of the place I used to be trying, and I’ve bought a pseudo-plugged lie for a second shot hitting an 8-iron. That’s simply Bay Hill. You type of take what it offers you.”

Zalatoris then discovered the guts of the fifteenth inexperienced together with his third, settling 36 ft away. However he three-putted, thus making a double bogey.

That dropped him again to 8-under, whereas additionally giving Wyndham Clark sole possession of the lead in the meanwhile.

Zalatoris bounced again with a birdie on the simple par-5 sixteenth however then suffered the identical destiny on the par-4 18th as he did on the fifteenth.

“I hit a reasonably low drive in there onto 18 and identical factor, it plugs once more,” Zalatoris mentioned.

Will Zalatoris, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Will Zalatoris hits his fourth shot on the 18th gap in the course of the third spherical of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photograph by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Photos

“I feel I counted; it’s my fourth 12 months right here, and I’ve had 19 plugged balls right here, so, evidently, the bunkers aren’t actually my favourite right here. I putted nice. I drove it fairly nicely for probably the most half. Yeah, I’m nonetheless within the ballgame, as irritating as it’s to complete up that method.”

Zalatoris’ ball plugged into the greenside bunker on the final, thus making a nerve-wracking state of affairs. With water looming on the opposite facet of the inexperienced, Zalatoris wanted to watch out about the place to play his third shot.

He well hit it to a protected spot onto the apron in need of the inexperienced, however he couldn’t get it up and down.

Alas, he made one other double bogey, dropping again to 7-under for the championship and settling for a 1-under 71.

“I feel I used to be 5-under by means of 11 or 12 or no matter it was,” Zalatoris mentioned.

“If you happen to took that stretch and unfold it out over the past 36 holes, I most likely wouldn’t be as dissatisfied. I’m taking part in nice golf. I actually hit three dangerous photographs that value me 5 photographs.”

Regardless of these mishaps, Zalatoris nonetheless has an opportunity. He’ll play alongside Clark within the penultimate pairing on Sunday.

He trails by two photographs, as Scottie Scheffler and Shane Lowry share the 54-hole lead at 9-under.

Jack Milko is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Enjoying By. Remember to try @_PlayingThrough for extra golf protection. You possibly can comply with him on Twitter @jack_milko as nicely.