PGA Championship - Round 1
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The book on young Will Zalatoris is this: Incredible world-class ballstriker, below-average, streaky-at-best putter. The numbers would support that: Zalatoris ranks second overall in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, and 185th in Strokes Gained: Putting.

WATCH: Will Zalatoris PGA Championship Round 1 Recap

PGA Championship - Round 1
Will Zalatoris putts for birdie during the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

Thursday was a different day for him, in several ways. For one, Zalatoris caught fire with the putter, making more than 150

feet of putts in a six-birdie, two-bogey round of 66. Starting on No. 10, he rolled in putts of 23 feet at 12; 26 feet at 13; and added closing birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 with putts of 25 and 30 feet, respectively. Also strange: Most of his birdies came from shots out of the rough. Zalatoris would hit only seven of 14 fairways, but 15 greens in regulation.

The putting, though, put a big smile on his face.

“It’s super fun whenever you have days like that,” he said. “... It was kind of a bizarre day.”

Zalatoris had a rough time in Dallas at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. For one, he had played the course dozens of times, knows it better than most, but still missed the cut. Afterward, he and his coach, Josh Gregory, went to work on his putting.

“I was pretty frustrated. The beauty of it is it’s just never as far off as you feel. Obviously, even in prep the last few days, I was pretty frustrated still, and it just kind of clicked last night. Better late than never.”

Better late than never.

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