2022 Tournaments We’ll Remember: FedEx St. Jude Championship

Through the end of the year, the SI Golf team will look back at 10 memorable tournaments from 2022.More Tournaments We’ll Remember: British Open | U.S. Open | RBC Canadian Open | LIV Golf’s London Debut | PGA Championship | The Masters | Augusta National Women’s Am | Chevron ChampionshipThe Event: FedEx St. Jude ChampionshipSite: TPC SouthwindDates: Aug. 9-13Result: Will Zalatoris defeats Sepp Straka in three-hole playoffWhy We’ll Remember It: Will Zalatoris ended a heartbreaking streak of runner-up finishes with his maiden PGA Tour victory. That isn’t really why we’ll remember the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, though. It was the chaotic and wildly entertaining three-hole playoff with Sepp Straka that made the tournament one of 2022’s most riveting finishes.Here’s what went down: A 10-foot par save on the 72nd hole gave Zalatoris a share of the lead. When Straka missed his 20-foot birdie putt for the win, the two headed back to the 18th tee of TPC Southwind. The first playoff hole was standard—both players hit the fairway and made par. For the second hole of the sudden death playoff, they were back at 18 again, but this time things did not go as smoothly for either competitor. Zalatoris’s drive hit a cart path to the right of the fairway, ending just a few feet away from the out-of-bounds fence, forcing a punch-out. Straka, on the other hand, hit his drive dangerously close to the water hazard to the left of the fairway. It stayed safe, but the lie and stance were ugly. Straka took a drop into the fairway, where he striped an approach to five feet. Zalatoris answered, hitting his wedge to inside 15 feet. Zalatoris led the way, sinking the par-save and Straka followed suit. Then came the third playoff hole—the par-3 11th over water. If you thought things couldn’t get more dramatic, think again. Zalatoris’ tee shot drifted to the right, towards the hazard but caught a piece of the bank. The ball bounced seven times, on both the first cut and the rock wall—which was separating the green from the penalty area—before safely nestling in between the two surfaces. Straka wasn’t so lucky. He hit almost the exact same tee shot at Zalatoris, but the golf gods weren’t with him: His shot bounced around too, but in the end it was a water ball. But that turned out not to matter much. After inspecting his lie, Zalatoris and his caddie concluded that attempting to hit his ball out of its wedged-in position wasn’t the right call. Both players hit from the drop-zone, with Straka going long into a back bunker and Zalatoris wedging to 7 feet. The Wake Forest alum sunk the putt for the long-anticipated win, throwing his arms over his head in relief. Victory at last.

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