Mito Pereira, Matthew Fitzpatrick on verge of history at PGA Championship in Tulsa

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TULSA — Mito Pereira is on the verge of history.

So are Matthew Fitzpatrick, Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young.

The four golfers, all aged 27 or younger, sit atop the leaderboard after Saturday’s third round at the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club.

While past major champions like Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson all faded on moving day, the youngsters rose to the top, and they’ll feature the final two pairings out Sunday looking to capture the Wanamaker Trophy.

What makes it even more appealing? None of the four have won an event on the PGA Tour.

Pereira leads the bunch. He’s out in front by three shots after a round of 1-under 69 that featured five birdies and four bogeys. He sits at 9-under 201 for the tournament.

“I’m real happy with how I ended up playing,” Pereira said. “I’m just happy to be in this position.”

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Will Zalatoris hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday in Tulsa.
Will Zalatoris hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday in Tulsa.

Pereira, who played college golf at Texas Tech, played Southern Hills before its 2019 renovation as a freshman in the 2015 Big 12 championship. He finished tied for eighth that week.

The eventual winner? Scottie Scheffler, who won the Masters last month.

After birdies on the second and fifth holes, Pereira became the only golfer in the field to reach double digits under par, but four bogeys in five holes from No. 8 to No. 12 moved him down to 6-under.

Pereira responded with consecutive birdies on 13 and 14. Then he birdied the 18th hole, only the fifth golfer of 79 to do that on Saturday.

He and Fitzpatrick, who is at 6-under for the tournament, are the only golfers to shoot all three rounds in the 60s this week.

“I'm more just looking forward to (tomorrow) more than anything,” Fitzpatrick said. “It's a chance to win and just want to -- I'll happily go tee off now if we can.”

Will Zalatoris, who held the 36-hole lead, shot 3-over 73 and is tied for second with Fitzpatrick. Young, who eagled the 17th hole after driving the green, is at 5-under.

If Pereira or Young were to win, they would become the ninth golfers to have their first career victory in the PGA Championship.

Saturday’s conditions were arguably the toughest of the week, with temperatures in the low- to mid-50s and gusty winds from the north.

2022 PGA Championship: Hole-by-hole breakdown of Southern Hills Country Club

Matthew Fitzpatrick lines up a putt on the 12th green during the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday in Tulsa.
Matthew Fitzpatrick lines up a putt on the 12th green during the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday in Tulsa.

Tap-ins

Tiger Woods shot a 9-over 79 in his third round, and he seemed to be in pain from his opening tee shot. After Saturday’s final round concluded, the PGA of America announced Woods had withdrawn from the tournament.

► Former Sooners standout Abraham Ancer shot an even-par 70 and sits at 4-under for the tournament. He’s in fifth place. “ I feel like I'm definitely in striking distance. Yeah, we just have to play some flawless golf tomorrow.”

► Former Oklahoma State standout Rickie Fowler had one of Saturday’s better rounds, carding a 1-over 71. He finished with two birdies on holes No. 7 and No. 10 to three bogeys.

► Webb Simpson holed out from 71 yards for eagle on the par-5 13th hole, and he shot the round of the day, a 5-under 65. He was 5-under on the back nine.

► For the second straight day, Seamus Power improved his score by two shots over the previous days. He shot 3-under 67 on Saturday and sits at 3-under for the tournament.

Cameron Jourdan covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Cameron? He can be reached at cjourdan@oklahoman.com or on Twitter at @Cam_Jourdan. Support Cameron’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at subscribe.oklahoman.com or by using the link at the top of this page.

More: Here’s how Southern Hills has changed ahead of 2022 PGA Championship

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Mito Pereira, Matthew Fitzpatrick eye history at PGA Championship