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World No. 13 Will Zalatoris finished the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic strong, shooting a 7-under 65 in the final round Sunday at the Detroit Golf Club.
One of the top names in the field, Zalatoris finished tied for 20th with a 13-under 275. He drastically improved in the final round after shooting 70, 71 and 69 the first three days.
“I just didn't get much out of the rounds the first couple days,” Zalatoris said. “I've been driving it amazing. (PGA professional Troy Denton) and I spent a lot of time working on the driver after The Open Championship. … It was nice to see everything click today.”
On Sunday, Zalatoris hit 10 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens in regulation while carding eight birdies to one bogey. He nearly aced the par-3 No. 15 but his tee shot bounced just in front of the cup before rolling off to the side.
He has seemed agonizingly close to winning a major all season, with second-place finishes at the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. Zalatoris wants that victory — or simply an initial win on the PGA Tour — badly.
“I'd pay a lot of money for about an inch and a half, that's for sure,” Zalatoris said. “We'd have at least one trophy by now. We're close, we've just got to keep doing what we're doing, and that first one's gonna come.”
Next week, Zalatoris heads to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the Wyndham Championship. He won’t have much time to rest before FedEx Cup Playoffs start at the St. Jude Championship the following weekend in Memphis, Tennessee.
He’ll need to power through it though, as his performance in Detroit likely dropped him just outside the FedEx Cup top 10.
“I'm 25, so if you hear me say I'm tired, I probably need to get my head checked,” Zalatoris said. “Next week, it's kind of a home game in some respects, considering I went to Wake Forest, and obviously this is kind of the stretch of the season you prepare for, playing five in a row to end the season. Like I said, I'm young, I can handle it.”
Brehm back at home
Mount Pleasant native Ryan Brehm shot 70 on Sunday to finish the Rocket Mortgage Classic tied for 57th at 7-under. The former Michigan State star shot 69 on Thursday, 70 Friday and 72 Saturday.
“Frustrated with the way I finished each day,” Brehm said. “Did not putt well enough to really make a good finish. I did some things well. I just have to close it on the final few holes. I think every day, whether it was three-putting or hitting an errant shot, I just didn't capitalize on enough opportunities.
“But having said that, we did play four days, so anytime you play four days you sharpen things up and roll on to the next week, try and keep the good and work on the bad.”
Brehm, 36, previously shot 20-under to win the Puerto Rico Open in March to retain his PGA Tour card. His other best finishes on the season include a tie for 14th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a tie for 81st at the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky and a tie for 31st at the 3M Open last weekend in Minnesota.
On Sunday, Brehm birdied Nos. 13-15 but followed with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18. Brehm believes his biggest issue right now is putting, and said he’ll work on being more consistent on the green going forward.
Additionally, Brehm said he enjoyed playing in his home state this week. When he’s not on tour, Brehm lives in Traverse City and enjoys hunting and boating in Northern Michigan. He also remains an avid fan of his alma mater and is “blown away” by how much MSU’s golf facility has changed since he turned pro in 2008.
“It’s remarkable,” Brehm said. “So, I definitely think the opportunities are there. And let's be honest, the collegiate game, just like all collegiate athletics, there are really no limitations on where they can go and practice. … (For me), I’m just happy to be back in Detroit and playing some golf.”
Fellow MSU golfer James Piot won the U.S. Amateur title last year, before turning pro this year and defecting to the LIV Golf tour.
Kim shoots cool 63
Joohyung Kim became the second player to tie the course record this weekend, firing a 9-under 63 on Sunday. He matched star rookie Cameron Young, the British Open runner-up, who accomplished the feat Friday.
“From tee to green, I felt really solid,” Kim said. “I was hitting the shots that I needed to and I made a lot of putts today as well. So definitely happy. No bogeys on the scorecard, just birdies and an eagle, so definitely pleased with it.”
The 20-year-old carded five birdies on the front nine and started the back nine with an eagle on No. 10, followed by birdies on 13 and 17. The South Korea native’s seventh-place finish, at 18-under, is expected to earn him a PGA Tour card for next season.
“It means everything,” Kim said. “Every day I've played golf, I thought about playing on the PGA Tour, it was nothing else. Today, it could get a little emotional tonight, but it's definitely been a dream, it's been a road and hopefully next season, I'll be out here full time.”
Contact Mason Young: MEYoung@freepress.com Follow him on Twitter: @Mason_Young_0
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Will Zalatoris closes 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic strong