TULSA, Okla. — The Latest on the final round of the PGA Championship (all times local):
Mito Pereira made a big par putt at the ninth to make the turn at 7 under and with a one-shot lead over former Wake Forest teammates Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young in the final round of the PGA Championship.
Pereira had made back-to-back bogeys before converting an up-and-down from the bunker at the ninth.
Neither Zalatoris nor Young, who played the front side 1 under, have ever won on the PGA Tour, let alone won a major championship. Zalatoris survived a shaky stretch of ball-striking to make the turn at 6 under for the tournament.
Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA champion, is creeping up the leaderboard. He’s at 4 under with six holes to play.
Will Zalatoris had just made back-to-back birdies and pulled into a tie for the lead with Mito Pereira during the final round of the PGA Championship when he flew the green at the par-3 sixth and the ball came to rest inside a shrub.
Zalatoris took a penalty stroke for an unplayable lie, then had to get relief from the new spot because a television tower was in his way. He wound up dropping onto the paved cart path and pitched from there onto the green, the shot coming to rest about 8 feet from the hole. He made the putt for a crucial bogey.
While Zalatoris was dropping a shot, Pereira rolled in a short birdie putt at the fifth to take a two-shot lead.
The leaders are off the tee for the final round of the PGA Championship, with Mito Pereira of Chile attempting to become the third major winner from South America and Matt Fitzpatrick trying to track him down from three strokes back.
Pereira has never won on the PGA Tour, let alone won a major. The last full-time tour player who made a major his first victory was Shaun Micheel, who won the 2003 championship at Oak Hill.
The 27-year-old Pereira isn’t a total unknown, though. He lost a playoff for the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
There are plenty of birdies available at Southern Hills during the final round of the PGA Championship, if only someone within shouting distance of the lead is able to string a few of them together.
Rory McIlroy looked as if he might be the guy early on Sunday. He ripped off four in a row to go from even par for the tournament to within five of the lead, only to hit a poor chip shot at the par-3 sixth and drop a shot there.
The back nine in particular should be interesting. The par-5 13th is reachable in two for most of the field, but it presents a quintessential risk-reward situation. The same goes for the 17th, a par-4 reachable off the tee for just about everyone that should present an easy birdie opportunity before the long, challenging uphill 18th.
First-time major winners have been nothing new in golf during this next generation of stars. The PGA Championship is no exception.
Mito Pereira of Chile has a three-shot lead going into the final round at Southern Hills. He is trying to become the first PGA Tour rookie since Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship to win a major.
Chasing him are Matt Fitzpatrick of England and Will Zalatoris. Neither has won a major. Fitzpatrick is a two-time Ryder Cup player from England. But he has only one top-10 finish in the 24 previous majors he has played as a pro. Zalatoris was runner-up in the Masters in 2021.
Cameron Young had never made a cut in a major until this week. He’s four shots behind.
Eight of the last 13 champions of the PGA had never won a major. That’s about the same ratio for the Masters and U.S. Open.
The closest major champions to the lead are Stewart Cink, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson. All are seven shots behind.
The final group tees off at 2:35 p.m.
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