He's not a fan of sightseeing, but Will Zalatoris has Texan tools for the linksland challenge

The 24-year-old is excited to return to Scotland as he prepares for next week’s Open at Royal St George’s.

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Will Zalatoris each way at 35/1

It's hard work taking teenagers on vacation; they always want to be somewhere else.

Hanging out with mum and dad isn't cool; hanging out with mum and dad in museums and galleries is even less cool.

The parents of Will Zalatoris didn't make a complete mess of the family holiday, they just got the itinerary the wrong way round.

"I came about a decade ago to Turnberry and Gleneagles on a family trip," the 24-year-old said ahead of his Scottish Open debut, before adding: "My family made the mistake of going to London four days before and all I wanted to do was play golf so I didn't really appreciate going to London."

But when he finally got to Scotland? "The Home of Golf," he said. "Love the weather, love playing links golf, we spent 10 days at Turnberry and now I'm really looking forward to this week."

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Raised and still living in Texas, Zalatoris insisted that fast-running, windy golf is not entirely alien to him.

"It's kind of similar to actually how we play in the winter time back home," he said.

"You know, Texas is very dry, and we get a lot of wind, fog, gets a little firm. Got to keep it on the ground, keep it underneath the wind.

"I've kind of grown up on it. It's not exactly links golf, but it's close and the few links courses we have in the States, I know how to play them.

"It's completely different. Week-in, week-out on the PGA Tour we try to hit it as high as we can and now we're trying to keep it as low as we can."

Having begun the season in sensational style, he's struggled in recent week s, failing to make a top 50 in his last three starts.

That pattern has been repeated in his Major performances: he opened the season with tied sixth at the re-arranged US Open, was solo second in his Masters debut in April, tied eighth at the PGA Championship in May, but missed the cut last month at Torrey Pines.

"I had a little bit of a rough month with my game," he explained ahead of Thursday's first round at The Renaissance Club. "I'm kind of trying to kick everything back into gear and absolutely prepping for next week.

"It's just great to get back on the links because it's so different and, on top of that, playing against the best players in the world.

"If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what does."

Let's take a closer look at his first season at the top level and what else he had to say.

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Zalatoris in the 2020/21 season

First 19 starts: 13 top 25s, 7 top 10s, best of solo second at the Masters.

Last three starts: best of T59th at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

In that first run he ranked top 20 for Strokes Gained Approach in 10 of the 14 events that measured stats. In two of the three events since, he ranked 73rd.

He's gone from an average gain of 4.025 shots on the field to an average loss of 2.183.

Zalatoris on The Renaissance Club

"It's incredible. You have to be really precise and really smart. It will be a good test. There are some absolute brutal par-4s, the 11th most notably. It's 490 yards and played into the wind yesterday. I think I was hitting 4-iron and I'm one of the top-25 longest guys on the PGA Tour, so that means guys will be hitting longer clubs than that in."

Zalatoris on home hope Bob MacIntyre

"I've known Bob since 2015. I was at Wake Forest University and he was briefly at McNeese State. He drives it I think the best I've ever seen out of anybody. I played with him at Bel-Air the first two days of the US Amateur that year, and Bel-Air is 6,700 yards, very short, very tight and he's just out there ripping drivers down the middle of fairways between trees and water. I'm hitting 3-irons and thinking I'm doing all right, and he's flipping wedges in and shoot 65 and I'm shooting 68. He's a great guy. He keeps me in stitches every time I'm around him, he's so funny. One of my good buds out here, at least on The European Tour."

READ MORE: Jon Rahm digging the linksland vibe ahead of the abrdn Scottish Open

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