Tulsa, Oklahoma — Six players were well-positioned to win their first major at South Hills Country Club after several golf greats missed moving day at Saturday’s PGA Championship. champion.
Chile’s Mito Pereira shot 9 under after the third round, becoming the first player to hold a 54-hole lead in his PGA Championship debut since John Daly in 1991. The winner has at least a 54-hole lead in Nanshan’s first seven majors.
Pereira is seeking to become the first PGA Tour rookie to win a major since Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship. He will be looking to join world No. 1 Scotty Scheffler and Colin Morikawa as the most recent 20-somethings to win a major.
“That’s the way it is,” Pereira said. “If you play really well in a week, you win. That’s okay. [if it’s] Your first or tenth, if you play really, really well, you’ll have a chance. “
Four contenders — Pereira, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Young and Matt Fitzpatrick — never even won on the PGA Tour. One of them will become the first player since Martin Kaymer in 2010 and the fifth player in the past 50 years to score his first Tour victory at the PGA Championship. Abraham Ancer and Seamus Power, two other players far away, have just one win each.
Here are the top contenders to win the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday:
Pereira, from Chile, was 10 under in the third round, but then made four bogeys in five holes. He didn’t panic and rebounded with consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th. He added another 27-foot birdie at No. 18.
Pereira, in just his second major, leads in strokes earned: putts (2.344). For the first 54 holes, he did well in almost every other way. He ranks in the top 25 in hits: tee-to-green (3rd), close (10th), near the green (24th) and tee (tie for 12th).
Pereira is ranked 100th in the world. Since the official World Golf Rankings were officially released in 1986, only two players ranked 100th or higher have led by 3 or more on 54 holes. One of them was John Daly, who led by 3 and won the 1991 PGA Championship. The other was Jean Vandervelde, who entered the final round of the 1999 British Open by five strokes. Of course, Van der Velde had a famous collapse on the 18th and lost to Paul Lowry in the play-offs.
Will Zara Torres
under 6 years old
One of the big questions heading into the weekend is whether Zara Torres’ putt will stay hot. He entered the PGA Championship tied for 185th: putt. He led the first two rounds but had problems early in the third.
He missed just two putts from within 10 feet over the first 36 holes and missed four putts from within 6 feet of a 4-over 39 on the front nine on Saturday. He putt better on the back nine, including a birdie from 35 feet on the par-5 13th.
Zara Torres is one of the best ball-handling forwards in the world, and his scramble has been exceptional this week, especially on the sand, which has puzzled many of Nanshan’s players. If he hits more fairways from the tee and his putter gets hot again, he’ll be hard to beat on Sunday.
“I was fortunate to have grown up around Lanny Wadkins and Lee Trevino, obviously these guys were Grand Slam champions, it’s funny to think about it [his friends] Scotty [Scheffler] and Jordan [Spieth], and,” Zlatoris said. “Just stick to my game.nothing to lose [Sunday]. I know I hit some really good golf balls and hopefully at the end of the day it adds up to lower the score. “
under 6 years old
Fitzpatrick from England is ranked 17th in the official World Golf Rankings. He is the highest-ranked player without a PGA Tour victory. The former North West star has won seven DP World Tour tournaments, including two British Masters and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Fitzpatrick, 27, was underwhelming in the majors this week. He’s in the top 10 just once in 27 games — a tie for seventh at the 2016 Masters. He is expected to be a contender for the U.S. Open next month at Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts, where he won the 2013 U.S. Amateur. He is the only Briton to win the event in the past 110 years.
Fitzpatrick said his earlier struggles in the majors may have been because his game was not as good as his world ranking.
“I’ve talked to my coach at length about my major record,” Fitzpatrick said. “You know, I always say to them, ‘I just want to give myself a chance because I support myself at the end of the day.’ I feel like every time I get a chance in Europe I play really well. I have, I play well. Good. I didn’t lose it.”
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Young’s first victory on the Korn Ferry Tour. He will win again the following week, becoming the 10th player in KFT history to win consecutive tournaments. On Sunday, he will enter the penultimate group in a major, trying to erase a four-shot deficit.
The PGA Tour rookie has three runners-up, four top-10s and seven top-25s in his first 16 starts. He handles the ball like anyone on the tour. After 54 holes, he leads the PGA Championship in field goal attempts: second in drive (2.088) and drive distance (320.6 yards).
Winning the PGA Championship may have been even more special for Young, whose father David was a longtime pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in upstate New York’s Hudson River.
“It is because of the PGA that he has the job he has had for many years,” Yang said. “Without that, at Sleepy Hollow, I wouldn’t have started playing at age 4 or earlier. I didn’t get the opportunities I had when I was growing up. I started playing PGA juniors at 9, 8, like That.
“For me, because of that organization, I get a lot of golf opportunities. So having the opportunity to go from the local PGA Junior Championships, the National PGA Junior Championships to the Junior Ryder Cups and even the PGA Championship, it’s really for me. It’s cool. It’s been with me.”
If all goes well (wrong for favorites)
Ancer was born in Texas and played at the University of Oklahoma, so he knows how to handle a whirlwind. Through 54 holes, he hit 32 of 42 fairways and 33 of 54 greens. He also navigated South Mountain’s curving grass well, as he was eighth in strokes: putts (4.758).
Ancer, who won the 2021 FedEx St. Jude Invitational, is tied for eighth at the 2021 PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. It was his only top-10 finish in 12 majors.
Rory McIlroy is the Irishman everyone expected to attack Saturday. In its place is Power, who is making his second big start. He birdied four of his final seven holes for a 3-under 67.
Ball won the 2021 Barbasol Championship, his first on the PGA Tour. He is sixth in strokes made: total (10.955) and seventh in strokes made: tee-to-green this week (9.076). Power, 35, plays in East Tennessee.
Thomas, trying to add a second Wanamaker trophy to his only major win at the 2017 PGA Championship, has a chance to make up on Saturday. But he made three bogeys on each side and made just two birdies for a 4-over 74. He had to go down on Sunday to make up for it.
Watson shot a 3-over 73 a day after tying the PGA Championship scoring record with a 7-under 63. The two-time Masters champion was 1 under in the frontcourt and finished second. But then he made four bogeys in the backcourt, including three on the final four holes.
“I wanted to be a little bit closer to the lead,” Watson said. “I missed some short putts. [On Friday]I did both, and [Saturday] I missed them on the back nine. “
Cink, who turns 49 on Saturday, said he was inspired by what Phil Mickelson did at Kiawah Island last year when Mickelson won the PGA Championship and became golf’s oldest man at 50 Grand Slam champion.
“It shattered ceilings that we thought were impossible before, really,” Zink said. “Of course Phil is his own man, he’s one of the best players in the game. But at his age, he can not only compete, he can finish and win, plus the fact that I know mine” I Winning on the PGA Tour recently has really given me a lot of confidence that I can go out there and play a tournament like this. “
Cink is seven shots behind, but anything can happen in the final round of a major. He is third in strokes: drive (4.488), hitting 34 of 42 fairways this week. He averaged 314.3 yards off the tee.
“I feel as physically capable as ever, if not more,” Zink said. “I’m the fastest I’ve ever had. I’m hitting the ball more and farther than ever, strength is important in this game, especially on a course like this. I’m not at all in that department. No shortage.”