Ito Pereira will take a three-stroke lead in the final round of the PGA Championship as he goes in search of an unlikely win at Southern Hills.
The Chilean is yet to win on the PGA Tour and this is only his second major appearance, but after starting a whim on Saturday and in the final group, a third-round 69 saw him advance to the before a day when many struggled.
He will be joined for the final start on Sunday by Matt Fitzpatrick after the Englishman played his last ten holes at four under par. On six under, he is three shots behind Pereira after posting a stunning 67. While Fitzpatrick is yet to win in America, he has seven DP World Tour victories to fall back on.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow no matter what, I played well for at least three rounds,” Fitzpatrick told Sky Sports.
“I have already had the experience of being in the lead in Europe. Obviously a major is completely different and I’ll be honest this is my first time competing in a major so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and just feel like I’m going out and doing what I’ve been doing all week.”
Will Zalatoris started the day with a one-shot lead but hit four bogies in his first seven holes, his putt again proving problematic despite his stellar first two days with the flatstick. He too will start the final round three shots behind Pereira.
Like Fitzpatrick, Ireland’s Seamus Power crossed the field with a 67 on Saturday and he sits in sixth place with three under, one shot ahead of Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson who faltered in the penultimate group.
A run of 74 from Rory McIlroy saw him drop to a tie for 17th, having started so well on opening day, while Tiger Woods at one point appeared to be on course for his worst run in a major.
He stabilized the ship by playing the last five holes at one under par, but a 79 in the third round leaves him last among those who made the cut, with his leg injury looking particularly problematic.
“I just didn’t play well,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit the ball very well and didn’t get the start I needed.
“I thought I hit a good tee shot out of two and ended up in the water, and I never really got any momentum on my end.”
When asked if he would play Sunday’s final round, Woods added, “Well, I’m in pain. I know it is a fact. We will work and see how it goes.