Demon Deacons compete at the Masters

Will Zalatoris was the only Demon Deacon to make the cut at the 2022 Masters, finishing sixth


Courtesy of Will Zalatoris

After finishing in second place behind champion Hideki Matsuyama in 2021, Will Zalatoris finished in sixth place of the 2022 Masters.

Ian Steffensen, Staff Writer

Hello friends, the 86th edition of the Masters was truly a tradition unlike any other. Augusta National welcomed back its patrons, as the atmosphere and roar of the crowd returned to those hallowed grounds. 

In the talented field of golfers, Wake Forest alums Cameron Young, Webb Simpson and Will Zalatoris competed to earn the coveted green jacket and title of Masters champion. Wake Forest had more representatives competing in this Masters than any other school in the ACC. The Demon Deacons fought long and hard against a course that provides the hardest challenge for any golfer, but ultimately it was World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler who came out on top. 

Cameron Young, in his rookie year on the PGA Tour has been making quite a splash. Thanks to runner-up finishes in two events and his ranking inside top-50, he secured an invite to the Masters — his first. Young graduated from Wake Forest in 2019, where he was a three-time All-ACC selection. In his first Masters appearance, Young struggled to find his stride. 

In his opening round on Thursday, he shot five over par but managed to birdie two holes including Hole #13 Azalea of the famed Amen Corner. On Friday, Young came out strong, shooting even par through the first three holes. Yet on the back nine, he struggled and shot another 77. Young was +10 for the tournament and missed the cut, but with his strong start on the PGA Tour, a maiden victory could be on the horizon. 

In his 11th Masters appearance, Webb Simpson looked to find his rhythm after coming off numerous injuries. Simpson has finished in the top 20 in each of the last four Masters, including his career-best fifth in 2019. In his opening round, Simpson managed to shoot one under par to keep him in the hunt tied for ninth. In his second round, Simpson didn’t fare quite as well, ending up with a 74 to make the cut at one over entering the weekend. 

Saturday’s conditions proved to be a challenge for all of the golfers in the field — the cold temperatures and swirling wind wreaked havoc on the scorecard. Yet, Simpson persevered with three birdies to end the day at one over. On Masters Sunday, Simpson struggled on the front nine with four straight bogeys on Holes 4, 5, 6 and 7. He managed to finish strong with three straight birdies on the back nine to close out his round with a score of 76. Simpson finished in a tie for 35th and was six over par for the tournament. 

Before last year’s tournament, hardly anyone had heard of Will Zalatoris. But thanks to a second-place finish in his Masters debut last year, he has become a household name and was favored to win the green jacket this year. Zalatoris opened his second stint at the Masters with a score of 71. He followed up on Friday, shooting even par to go into the weekend one under par. The conditions of Saturday posed quite a challenge for Zalatoris as he posted six bogeys, including a double bogey on the 13th hole. He ended his round with a score of 75, and was two over to start on Sunday. 

In Sunday’s round, Zalatoris played one of the best rounds at Augusta, and proved that he may well be seeing green soon. He had seven birdies, including three in a row on Holes 8, 9 and 10. He mastered Amen Corner, landing the green in two on Hole 13 and coming away with a birdie. He had back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 and pars on 17 and 18 to finish out his round. Zalatoris shot 67 on the day, which was the second-lowest stroke count on Sunday behind Rory McIlroy’s 64. Zalatoris finished three under and in sixth, his second consecutive top-10 finish at the Masters. With an outstanding showing last year and strong performance this year, a green jacket could be in the near future for Zalatoris.

This year’s Masters contained many captivating storylines and provided great entertainment for golf fans all over the world. Tiger Woods returned for his 24th Masters, following his car accident last year. Despite not playing in a tournament in over 18 months, he put together a great performance, made the cut and showed his resilience. Scottie Scheffler, this year’s Masters Champion, put on a dominant performance during each of his four rounds. With the chasing pack, Scheffler remained calm and collected to hold on for his first major victory. Rory McIlroy, who is still seeking his career grand slam for majors, posted a 64 on Sunday to finish in second. He finished on the 18th hole from the bunker for his final birdie. 

The Demon Deacons Young, Simpson and Zalatoris represented Wake Forest well in this edition of the Masters. With their strong showing, and start to the season there will certainly be wins on the PGA Tour for Wake Forest.