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May 20, 2022

Will Zalatoris

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Southern Hills Country Club

Flash Quotes

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 2022 PGA Championship here at Southern Hills in Tulsa. We are joined by Will Zalatoris, who carded a 65 today, 5-under par; he's 9-under for the championship; 36-hole leader.

Clean scorecard, Will. What allowed you to stay away from the big numbers and stand here today on top of the leaderboard?

WILL ZALATORIS: Yeah, I got away with murder a few times today for sure, especially starting off the day hitting the left trees and hitting it to a kick-in.

Same thing on 17, being able to get out of there with birdie where it was looking like I was going to be making 5.

10 was really the big one, compounding two errors and hitting one really good golf shot and saving par, I just kept the round going today. Made a bunch of six-, eight-footers for par that kept the day going, and obviously being bogey free around this place is pretty nice.

We lucked out with the draw for sure. I played the last eight holes with not much wind, but take it when you can get it.

Q. You haven't played in many major tournaments but your name always seems to be in contention. What is it about the biggest events that seems to bring out the best in you?

WILL ZALATORIS: Yeah, they're tough golf courses that allows my ball-striking to really give me the best chances. Obviously these greens aren't easy, but hitting them on the right tiers and being able to have the 15- to 25-footers where I'm not going up and down slopes is huge.

But the other part, too, I think is just I've kind of had an attitude with the majors, especially since the Masters, where I wanted to enjoy the experience as much as I could. I don't want to leave anything -- looking back from 20 years from now I don't want to regret my attitude or anything like that.

So I just make sure that after really every single shot I hit, it's just -- I don't want to say life or death, but make sure I'm fully committed to everything that I do because we only get four of them a year.

Q. Did you stick your head outside this morning around 8:30 or 9:00 when that wind started blowing 30, 35, and at any time were you wondering what you were going to be in for this afternoon?

WILL ZALATORIS: No, I mean, I was watching the weather and I saw that the wind was going to be pretty bad this morning, and I knew it was going to calm down a little bit in the afternoon. I didn't think it was going to calm down this much. But I've grew up in Texas, so I'm kind of used to this wind.

Having a day like this afternoon, this is pretty rare for us, to be honest. I know we've got a lot of wind and some weather coming in and a long 36 holes ahead of us.

Q. Of the seven previous majors contested at Southern Hills, the winner had at least a share of the 36-hole lead all seven times. Is there something about this golf course that you think it's hard to chase, and does that give you confidence knowing that guys previously have converted from your position?

WILL ZALATORIS: Yes and no. Like I said, I've got a long 36 holes ahead of me. I think if anything, like I said, you're able to plot your way around this golf course, and if you hit as many greens as you possibly can, it's kind of hard to mess it up.

You still can. You know, if you get on the wrong slopes it still has a little bit of the attitude of like Augusta where you can hit 18 greens and walk off that place and shoot 80.

I think history to me, it is what it is, but I'm going to go out and do my job, and hopefully it's enough at the end.

Q. When you talk about majors and you talk about your attitude, it seems like there's so much confidence there, and I wonder where you're able to kind of find major tournament confidence like that when you're still waiting to win your first. You sound like someone who's won one.

WILL ZALATORIS: No, I get it. Something Scottie Scheffler said the other day I think resonates a lot, where what made him become a major champion, he said that it was belief. I think that's kind of the same attitude that any of us have out here to win, whether it's a regular event, a Korn Ferry event, or a major.

Maybe it's a fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude, I don't know. But like I said, I think there's a little bit of the aspect that they're just such golf courses, it allows my ball-striking to do the talking.

Q. You had to wait on a few tee boxes today obviously for the group behind you to come through. Just wondering, is that difficult to get in rhythm when you have to stop-start like that and wait for the crowd to settle?

WILL ZALATORIS: Not really. We were playing in front of Tiger, too, so you've got to make sure that if any of the guys behind us are hitting in, just because the tees are so close to the greens here -- I think playing a five-plus-hour round we're just kind of used to it, and just being patient and making sure you're not in anybody else's way.

There's a lot of crisscrossing on this golf course, but everyone has got to deal with it.

Q. They didn't cut the greens this morning, and they were a little longer obviously by the time you played them. Any effect positively or negatively for you?

WILL ZALATORIS: Yeah, I mean, it was interesting for sure. They put some pins actually that were on a little bit more severe slopes than yesterday, despite the greens being a little bit slower and obviously the wind picking up this morning. I think it allowed us to be aggressive going back up hill, but at the same time I left plenty of 15 footers straight uphill short because I couldn't believe that they were that slow.

Obviously it sounds like we're going to get a little bit of rain maybe overnight, and I expect them to cut them and roll them, so we'll see. But that was definitely -- when I woke up and saw the text message this morning, I was actually pretty surprised.

Q. Can you estimate what they stimped at?

WILL ZALATORIS: I wouldn't know. I'd probably guess 10, 10 and a half, but that's a severely uneducated guess.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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