Rising star Will Zalatoris has yet to claim an official win on the PGA Tour despite earning Rookie of the Year honors last season. But after a scintillating birdie streak to close out his round on Friday at the American Express, that could all be about to change.
Coming off a disappointing opening-round 71 at La Quinta CC, Zalatoris began Round 2 on the 10th tee of the Nicklaus Tournament Course, hoping to at least climb a few spots on the leaderboard before the weekend. He did a whole lot more than that.
Zalatoris ripped off three-straight birdies on 10-12 right out of the gate, but things would take a turn for the miraculous on the front nine, his second nine of the day. After pars at 1 and 2, the 25-year-old was at four under on the day with seven holes to play.
He then did the unthinkable, making birdie on all of his final seven holes of the day to shoot an incredible 11-under 61. That stretch included this bomb on the par-3 8th.
Not only did the score vault Zalatoris from MC-territory into contention, it also matched the lowest round of his young career.
As for his birdie streak, it was momentous no doubt, and the longest such streak of the season, but it is not the longest birdie streak in PGA Tour history. Both Mark Calcavecchia, at the 2009 Canadian Open, and Kevin Chappell, at the 2019 Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, made a record nine birdies in a row. Several players have recorded eight consecutive birdies.
With two rounds to go at the American Express, Zalatoris finds himself just two shots behind leader Patrick Cantlay, with one of his best chances yet to capture victory No. 1.
You can watch Zalatoris’ final birdie of the day below.