By Steve Keating TULSA, Oklahoma (Reuters) -Unheralded Mito Pereira became the first Chilean to lead a major, surging three shots clear at the top of the PGA Championship third round leaderboard on Saturday, as miserable conditions brought many of the world’s best golfers to their knees, including Tiger Woods who withdrew from the tournament. Playing […]
Golf-Unheralded Pereira takes three shot lead into PGA Championship final round
By Steve Keating
TULSA, Oklahoma (Reuters) -Unheralded Mito Pereira became the first Chilean to lead a major, surging three shots clear at the top of the PGA Championship third round leaderboard on Saturday, as miserable conditions brought many of the world’s best golfers to their knees, including Tiger Woods who withdrew from the tournament.
Playing in just his second major, Pereira has refused to surrender to pressure carding a one-under 69 to get to nine-under 201 and a three shot advantage on Britain’s Matt Fitzpatrick and American Will Zalatoris going into Sunday’s final round at Southern Hills Country Club.
Pereira started the day one back but found himself alone with the lead after two holes when overnight leader Zalatoris bogeyed the first and he picked up a birdie at the second.
The 27-year-old would extend his lead to four before a mid-round wobble that saw him absorb four bogeys over a five hole stretch around the turn.
But with his lead chopped to one, Pereira responded with back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 before closing out his round in style rolling in 27-footer at the last.
When the day began Fitzpatrick was heading in the wrong direction with bogeys on his opening two holes but would have just one the rest of the way while carding six birdies, including a pair to end his round for 67.
Second round leader Zalatoris never manage to heat up on a cold day in Oklahoma taking four bogeys on his outward nine on was to a three-over 73.
Cameron Young also had a 67 to lurk four off the lead.
Pereira, Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris and Young are all in pursuit of their first PGA Tour win.
After dealing with heat and gusting winds through the opening two rounds, golfers faced dramatically different conditions on Saturday as rain and cold settled in over Tulsa.
With temperatures hovering around 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celcius) players sweated out a wind-whipped second round but on Saturday with temperatures in the 50s (10C) mitts, sweaters and umbrellas were the order of the day.
Woods withdrew after having the third worst round of his career at a major, carding a nine-over 79 to leave him at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Woods was playing his second event after a career-threatening car crash, so his struggles might have been expected. But he was not alone. U.S. Open champion and world number two Jon Rahm had a 76 and British Open winner and world number three Collin Morikawa signed for a 74.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Tulsa; Editing by Martyn Herman, Ken Ferris and David Gregorio)