Mito Pereira’s PGA bid ends with double-bogey at 18 - jobs fights tigma
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Mito Pereira’s PGA bid ends with double-bogey at 18

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Mito Pereira’s PGA bid ends with double-bogey at 18

Mito Pereira showed incredible resolve in his pursuit of the PGA Championship. The Chilean, who was competing on the Korn Ferry Tour this time last year and started the week ranked 100th in the world, was playing just his second major championship. He took a one-stroke lead to the 18th hole Sunday and prepared to hit his preferred shot when he wants to find a fairway, a low, piercing fade.

He knew immediately, though, that the shot was sailing too far right. He let go of the club in dismay, then watched as his ball bounded into the creek on the right side of the hole. That swing proved the difference, as Pereira missed the green long on his third shot, then chipped through the green from a gnarly lie in the rough. His 22-foot bogey try from the fringe failed to drop, and Pereira signed for a 5-over 75. He finished in a tie for third place at 4 under, one stroke shy of the playoff between Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris.

“On 18, I was not even thinking about the water,” Pereira said. “I just wanted to put it in play, and I guess I aimed too far right. Obviously sad to be here and not in the playoffs, not make par, just straight win. Today I was really nervous. I tried to handle it a little bit, but it’s really tough. I thought I was going to win on 18, but it’s what it is. We’ll have another one. ”

Pereira also was just inches away from taking a two-shot lead to the last ho, as his birdie putt on 17 stopped just short of the hole. The third-place finish matched Pereira’s best of the season. He also finished third at the season-opening Fortinet Championship, his lone top-10 of the season before arriving at Southern Hills. He earned his first TOUR card by winning three times on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, becoming the first player since 2016 to earn a three-win promotion. The PGA Championship would have been his first PGA TOUR victory, however.

Making his first major start since the 2019 US Open, where he missed the cut, Pereira carded a second-round 64 at Southern Hills to enter the weekend one back of Zalatoris. After four bogeys in a five-hole stretch around the turn Saturday, some may have expected Pereira to fade into the background, but he rallied with three birdies in the final six holes in testy conditions to carry a three-stroke lead into Sunday at 9 under par.

Southern Hills remained a stern test Sunday, and Pereira had done enough through 71 holes to maintain pole position, including several incredible ups and downs. He was one stroke clear of Zalatoris and Thomas, who were both in the clubhouse, when he got to 18.

The next time he holds this position, he’ll be better for it.

“I thought I was nervous the first day,” Pereira reflected on Sunday afternoon. “Then I thought I was nervous on the second day. Then I thought I was nervous on the third day, but the fourth day was terrible. I mean, this morning was tough.

“I just played it through and actually had a one-shot lead on 18, and that was pretty good, and sad to hit it in the water. I mean, I wish I could do it again… You’re in such a stressful situation, that everything (with the swing) can change. Just got to learn how to do it better. Keep training for it. ”

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