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What was once a family joke is slowly becoming Masters reality for Will Zalatoris

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During his interview following his first round of his first Masters Tournament, Will Zalatoris said he has a running joke in his family that if he was stupid enough to think he can play at the Masters, he’s stupid enough to think he can win it.

Either Zalatoris is stupid or tells great jokes, because following a second-round 68, he is tied for second at 6 under —  and well in position to join rare company to don the coveted green jacket.

If he wins, the graduate of Wake Forest would become the first player to win the Masters in his first appearance at Augusta National since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

“I think that’s something that it’s a childhood dream to obviously be in the final group of a major on a weekend, especially here, I think definitely that one for sure,” said Zalatoris, who made three straight birdies to end his round to join leader Justin Rose in the final pairing.

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It was a quiet start to the day with eight pars and a bogey on No. 9 to set up a thrilling back nine.

“I had two pretty good looks on 3 and 8 that I let get away from me,” he said. “I knew it was in there somewhere but when I made the par putt on 10, that was a big momentum boost, and making a couple 30-footers on 11 and 12, that’s just big bonus. I hit great putts that just happened to go in.”

While it is his first time playing Augusta National, Zalatoris said he isn’t intimidated by the course, rather embraces the challenge. Through two rounds, he’s in contention to break a years long record of a first time winner. It’s not too big for him, being on that stage now.

“I wanted to be here my entire life. Some people shy away from that, but I’m excited to be here. I’ve wanted to be here forever. There’s no reason to feel intimidated now. I made it here,” Zalatoris said. “And obviously the job is not done by any means, but I think standing on the first tee and hearing your name called, that’s something that every kid dreams of.”

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