Mito Pereira will take a three-shot lead into the final day of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills after overcoming a shaky turn to surge out in front. Pereira birdied the last to card a 69 and remain ahead of overnight leader Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who put himself into contention after shooting an excellent 67.
Rory McIlroy’s bid to end his major drought suffered a significant early blow, however. After a run of five straight pars McIlroy pulled his tee shot to the par-three sixth into the water and ran up a double-bogey five to drop back to two under par. It would be followed by a triple-bogey six and although a run of birdies helped, McIlroy then dropped a further shot at the 18th to finish the day at level par overall.
Earlier in the day, Tiger Woods recorded his worst ever score in the PGA Championship as a successful battle to make the cut took a heavy toll at Southern Hills. Woods shot 79, his previous worst score in the US PGA being a 77 in the first round in 2011. “I just didn’t play well,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit the ball very well and got off to not the start I needed to get off to. I thought I hit a good tee shot down two and ended up in the water, and just never really got any kind of momentum on my side.”
It was confirmed after the conclusion of the third day that Woods had withdrawn from the tournament and the 46-year-old will not play in the fourth round.
Breaking: Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the PGA Championship
Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the PGA Championship following today’s round.
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:39
Pereira speaking to Sky Sports: “I was playing so good on the first seven holes. But then I missed a putt at seven. Sometimes you close your eyes, open them and suddenly you’ve made four bogeys in five holes. I guess it’s a major. On 13 I got a birdie and that gave me a boost, some momentum to get going again. It gave me confidence to forget the bogies.
“I will try to keep my head in the moment. Enjoy it too, it’s the final round of the major. Two, three years ago I would not have believed it. I will try to do my best.”
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:32
PGA Championship – Closing birdie for Pereira!
Would you believe it! What a way to finish for Pereira, who sinks a birdie putt from 12 feet on the 18th green to stretch his lead over Zalatoris, who could only make par! Pereira will take a three-shot lead into the final day after overcoming a shaky middle part of his round to card at 69.
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:21
Well, this was not what Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas needed. Both players walk away from the 18th with a bogey, to drop a further shot away from contention. It sums up Watson’s game over the back nine. He’s had four bogeys with a few missed putts from that distance. Thomas got himself back into it with that birdie at 17 but it means little now.
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:15
Matthew Fitzpatrick, speaking to Sky Sports: “Today I’m really proud of myself. I’ve had the experience of having the lead before in Europe, but this is a major and it’s completely different. This is the first time I’ve been in contention in a major and I’m looking forward to it. I just need to try and stay as level as possible.”
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:12
Back in it! Zalatoris responds by making that dropped shot back up again at the 17th. His pitch onto the green left him 11 feet and he rolls it in to move two behind Pereira, who was short of the green and is happy to move on with par.
Just the two groups left out there – Watson and Thomas are walking up the 18th now.
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:08
McIlroy walks away as grips the end of his putter in frustration as he signs off his round with a bogey at the last. It sums up his day, really, as he drops to level par overall.
Jamie Braidwood22 May 2022 00:05
That par save at the 16th looks all the more impressive now, as Thomas does indeed birdie the 17th to get back to -3. His playing partner Watson moves in another direction though, and they are level again after the former Masters champion makes two bogeys in a row.
Jamie Braidwood21 May 2022 23:59
Matthew Fitzpatrick! What a round, what a back nine! He moves to second overall with a birdie at the last, rolled in from the fringe of the green. Just solid play, but brilliant too.
After opening with two bogeys, Fitzpatrick did not drop a future shot and his three birdies on the back nine sealed a lovely 67. He’s gone 69, 68 and 67 over his first three days. He could be in the final group tomorrow.
Jamie Braidwood21 May 2022 23:54
another twist. Zalatoris found himself in the trees, then the rough, but somehow onto the green in three at the 16th. He looked to have saved par, too, but it just faded away from the hole. Pereira was left with six feet or so for a four as well but he makes it, and the lead becomes three once again.
Jamie Braidwood21 May 2022 23:52
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.