Salem Radio Network News Sunday, July 3, 2022

Sports

Golf-Major pressure the challenge as Pereira bids for PGA Championship title

By Steve Keating

TULSA, Oklahoma (Reuters) -Chile’s Mito Pereira set off on the final round of the PGA Championship with a three-shot lead on Sunday but was looking over his shoulder as twice-winner Rory McIlroy was on the charge.

Pereira, playing in just his second major, might have had a quick glance at the leaderboard as he teed off on an overcast afternoon at Southern Hills Golf Club and seen four-time major winner McIlroy piling up the birdies on his outward nine to get to three under and six back of the lead.

The Northern Irishman, who looked out of contention after carding a four-over 74 on Saturday, turned on the jets for Sunday’s final round, running together four consecutive birdies from the second to move into a tie for fifth place with nine to play.

Pereira has withstood brutal heat, punishing winds, rain and cold but on Sunday major pressure will be the challenge as he manages a three-shot advantage over Britain’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris.

Pereira now faces the ultimate test of closing the deal and becoming the first PGA Tour rookie since Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship to win a major.

The final round will be missing its marquee attraction with Tiger Woods withdrawing from the tournament on Saturday after carding one of his worst rounds ever at a major tournament — a nine-over 79.

Woods, in his second start after a car crash 15 months ago nearly cost him his right leg, appeared dejected and in pain as he trudged off the 18th green and later announced he was pulling out of the season’s second major.

The last time Woods withdrew from a tournament was in 2019 prior to the second round of the Northern Trust. It is the first time he has withdrawn from a major since the U.S. Open in 1995.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Tulsa; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon)

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