Will Zalatoris revelation gets attention of punters ahead of AT&T Byron Nelson

After a brilliant performance at Augusta, the American youngster will look to cash in on local knowledge at this week’s new PGA TOUR venue.

When punters heard that Will Zalatoris was a Dallas native, they quickly realised he could be a decent bet for this week's AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas.

The event is being contested on a new course, TPC Craig Ranch, so there was just a chance that the 24-year-old could have played it before.

It turned out he had, but that was something of an understatement. Because when Zalatoris was called in for interview on Tuesday, he revealed that he'd been playing the course since he was 12 years old!

Suddenly those odds of 28/1 at William Hill looked even more attractive.

Zalatoris is regarded as a surefire hit by most in the know on the PGA TOUR.

We've heard that numerous times before with amateur prodigies and been told to stay patient if results haven't been instantaneous when they've joined the pro ranks.

But Zalatoris' career is already on fast forward.

Bryson DeChambeau needed 16 attempts before he registered his first top 10 in a Major. And despite taking the PGA TOUR by storm, Jon Rahm couldn't post a top 20 in his first six Major starts.

Zalatoris has pegged it up just three times in golf's most significant events: already he has a tied sixth at the 2020 US Open and that thrilling second place in last month's Masters.

He's 50/1 with BetVictor to win next week's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

There's a slight element of him doing things in reverse as, so far, he's yet to manage a victory on the PGA TOUR.

No-one doubts it will come but there are already some murmurings of "is this the week?" whenever the name 'Zalatoris' appears on an entry list.

That question is certainly on many lips this week. And even more so after the level of his local knowledge came to light.

Here's what Zalatoris had to say in his pre-tournament press conference.

On his past experience at TPC Craig Ranch

"Yeah, anytime you're able to sleep in your own bed is obviously a big bonus. So I played TPC Craig Ranch a bunch going back, I think, to when I was actually 12 years old. I played in, it was actually the Ewing Junior Tour regular season championship, played in a foursome with Scottie Scheffler, and I've got a lot of great memories here.

"So I guess I've been competing here basically half my life, so really looking forward to, obviously, competing in front of some friends and family this week. I know it's going to be a lot of fun. And I'm really excited for obviously this edition of the Byron Nelson."

On how the course will play

"I think the biggest defense of this place really is the wind. Typically, when I've played here, it's fairly wide open, it's very long, especially when you have Zoysia grass, the ball doesn't roll very far. Getting weather as well is going to slow down the ball off the tee, so it's going to benefit a lot of the longer hitters.

"But you're able to really hit some darts into some of these greens, especially with how the weather is going to, or at least how so far the conditions are going to look like for the rest of the week. So expecting some low numbers this week, but at the same time if the wind picks up, I mean, I've seen it in Q-School where all of a sudden, I think one year in Q-School, I think I shot 72 and moved up 15 spots. So normally in Q-School you might shoot 68 and move back 20 spots."

On his season so far: six top 10s including a Masters second

"Obviously it's been a really fun year. I think last week (missed cut at Wells Fargo) was a really great reminder kind of just to stay patient. I think when you're riding that high for that long, I don't remember who said it, but someone said when you're playing good, you feel like you're never going to play bad again; when you're playing bad, you feel like you're never going to play good again.

"I really wasn't that far off, just kind of made a couple mistakes here or there, and like I said, it was kind of a great reminder just to realise I'm, just keep sticking to the plan, keep sticking to the process, and I think in, it's probably a blessing in disguise considering I'm playing the next four in a row and one of them being a Major. So I'm in a really good spot, especially on a golf course that I know very well."

On playing at TPC Craig Ranch as a junior with Scottie Scheffler

"I think it was in the middle of August and it was so hot that I think we both took towels and dumped them in coolers and literally wrapped them around our necks and played with them on the entire day. I know neither one of us won, but it was -- I could probably name seven or eight times that we've played together, probably between, like, 9 and 15 where it was like duking it out. A lot of fun.

"So I think, probably the other one was, I remember we had the tees so far up on 14 that both of us drove 14, and I think when you're 12 years old and you're driving par-4s it usually doesn't happen."

On trying to win in front of friends and family

"My goal is to obviously win one before the season's over and be a part of the FedExCup playoffs. But I've kind of given this same monotonous answer for the last six months of I've been sticking to the same practice routine and same process for two years and it's gotten me to here. So I think last week was a great reminder to keep sticking with that process and not force anything. Just because you've had some success doesn't mean that we need to be changing goals, changing our attitude. It's just more of the same. I've done that from Monday qualifiers on the Korn Ferry Tour all the way into playing, contending in a Major championship.

"So I think if anything it's just keep doing what we're doing and run the tables and if this is my week, yeah, of course it would be wonderful to win in front of family and friends, but the way how I do that is just keep doing what I'm doing."

On being expected to win a PGA TOUR event soon

"The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. I mean, of course there's a lot of people that think I could play on a Ryder Cup team or win a Major or whatever. I mean, I've heard it all. I've gotten asked all the questions, but the fact of the matter is it's just every week I'm just trying to become a better golfer.

"And I know more people have seen -- I've now kind of had a little bit more of a breakout where more people have seen me play, but it's still the same for me. People might think I could do more, think I could do better, but the goals I put on myself or the pressure that I put on myself is the only pressure that I really feel."

On who will be coming out to support him this week

"I think mom and dad, they try to come to as many events as possible. Obviously just a drive down the road they will be here. So I've come to the Byron Nelson since I was nine years old. I didn't miss it until I think I went off to college. And, actually -- when I had my appendectomy it was actually the first Nelson I had missed since we moved to Dallas, which was my freshman year of college, and I would have had a spot that year.

"So this tournament, yeah, it means a lot to me. I still have the autographed hats that I had. I was one of the kids asking for autographs from guys walking off 18. So it's kind of fun seeing it all come full circle and I'm excited for this week and to have my fiance and mom and dad there this week, it's going to be a lot of fun."

READ MORE: Four betting angles ahead of the AT&T Byron Nelson

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