Warren Little / R&A
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Will Zalatoris offered a title shot in Mississippi
Warren Little / R&A
Where to look
Sky Sports Golf, 9 p.m. Saturday
Will Zalatoris (1-2) win two balls and Sam Burns win two balls (5-8)
2pts double bet365
Cameron Young to win two balls
1pt 6-4 general
Hayden Buckley wins two balls
1pt 6-5 Betfred, BoyleSports
History so far
Will Zalatoris was inspired by the Ryder Cup to rise to the top of the Sanderson Farms Championship standings at the Country Club in Jackson, Mississippi.
Zalatoris, one of the best young Americans in the game, grew up playing golf alongside Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler.
Zalatoris was scrambling for ante-post favoritism ahead of the Sanderson Farms, available at the best price 20-1, and a sizzling second round of 61 solidified the Californian’s position as the market principal. He shares the lead at 13 under par and is no taller than 11-4 heading into the weekend.
Nick Watney and Sahith Theegala, 300-1 and 100-1 respectively ante-post, are tied for the lead. Sam Burns is in seventh place, three strokes behind the pace. Defending champion Sergio Garcia was among those who missed the cup.
-13 Will Zalatoris, Nick Watney, Sahith Theegala
-12 Cameron Young, Hayden Buckley
-11 Roger Sloan
-10 Aaron Wise, Stephan Jaeger, Henrik Norlander, Sam Burns, Denny McCarthy, Kurt Kitayama
11-4 W Zalatoris, 7 S Theegala, S Burns, 14 H Buckley, N Watney, 16 C Young, 18 A Wise, R Sloan, 25 S Im, 28 S Jaeger, C Conners, 40 bar
Third round preview
Will Zalatoris putted over 148 feet in the second round to set the Country Club of Jackson course record and lead the standings for strokes won over 36 holes.
Zalatoris appeared to have made inroads with his tough bet in the wake of the Open Championship, making some improvements to his equipment and stroke, but a poor performance on the Fortinet Championship greens the last time around was a setback.
If Zalatoris had placed well in the Fortinet, his 11th-place share would have turned into something much more spectacular, but Jackson’s assured rock-roll paid immediate results.
It seems like it’s only a matter of time before the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year loses his first tag – and a piece of the Sanderson Farms championship lead midway through provides a great opportunity. This is a low-level affair that Zalatoris doesn’t have much to beat, so anyone who made it to the 20-1 pre-tournament can expect to get their money’s worth.
It’s an estate full of nervous young girls and aging wrestlers, summed up by the fact that Sahith Theegala and Nick Watney are alongside Zalatoris on the board. Theegala is a promising 23-year-old, while Watney is a 40-year-old without a win since 2012.
Cameron Young and Hayden Buckley are talented and dangerous from a shot from behind, but Zalatoris might find his biggest challenge of the weekend comes from Sam Burns, who can get into the thick of it from a seventh share.
Burns, who has just taken the best part of a month off since the Tour Championship, has slowly but steadily progressed in Jackson. Racing Post Sport’s pre-tournament recommendation 18-1 can be expected to find full throttle at some point on the closing 36 holes and stack pressure on Zalatoris.
The Zalatoris (v Watney, 8:10 p.m. KST) and Burns (v Henrik Norlander, 7:30 p.m.) double-appeal, while Young and Buckley are valuable underdogs against Theegala and Roger Sloan respectively.
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FIRST PUBLISHED AT 9:33 AM, OCTOBER 2, 2021