(Reuters) – Will Zalatoris still feels the sting of his near-miss at last week’s PGA Championship but said on Wednesday that losing in a playoff to Justin Thomas simply reaffirmed his belief that his day in the winner’s circle will come.
Zalatoris, who is competing at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, matched Thomas with a birdie on the opener of the three-hole aggregate playoff but missed a long birdie try that would have pushed things to sudden death.
“It’s obviously a position that I’ve wanted to be in my entire life, and obviously it stings to come up basically one shot short. But I think if anything, this is the closest I’ve been,” Zalatoris told reporters at Colonial Country Club.
“I know that we’re doing the right things. I believe I can do it… Obviously guys out here say it to themselves because that’s what obviously you’re supposed to do, where you think you can be or you are one of the best players in the world. I now firmly believe that.
“Sorry if that’s arrogant, but I think there is a difference.”
The reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year now has five top-10 finishes in his eight major championship starts, including a runner-up finish at the 2021 Masters where he finished one shot back of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.
Zalatoris is one of seven players who finished top 10 at the PGA Championship that are competing in Fort Worth, a group that consists of Thomas, third-round leader Mito Pereira, Tommy Fleetwood, Chris Kirk, Abraham Ancer and Tom Hoge.
The 25-year-old Texan would usually have played about 27 practice holes by this point in a tournament week but has instead spent the last few days resting.
“It didn’t really hit me until the last couple days,” said Zalatoris. “Obviously game feels like it’s in a really good spot, so I’ll be pretty excited to hopefully contend here in front of friends and family.”
Zalatoris, still in search of his first PGA Tour title, will play the first two rounds this week alongside Justin Rose and Kevin Kisner.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)