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story.lead_photo.caption In this May 20 file photo, Will Zalatoris smiles as he walks off the green on the 16th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, S.C. Photo by Associated Press / News Tribune.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Will Zalatoris has been voted PGA Tour rookie of the year, the first player in 20 years to receive the award without being a full PGA Tour member.

Zalatoris played well enough on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 to earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which did not have qualifying and was pushed back to September because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant it was part of the 2020-21 season.

Zalatoris tied for sixth, and with two other top-10 finishes, he was able to join the PGA Tour as a special temporary member in November, meaning unlimited sponsor exemptions.

The 25-year-old from Dallas finished the season with eight top 10s, including a runner-up finish at the Masters. Without a win, Zalatoris was ineligible for the PGA Tour postseason. He still earned enough points to be equal to No. 25 in the FedEx Cup standings when the regular season ended.

Zalatoris won the award ahead of the only other rookie on the ballot, Garrick Higgo of South Africa, who won the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in May.

The last player to win rookie of the year as a special temporary member was Charles Howell III in 2001.

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