Mito Pereira hits his shot from the seventh tee during the third round of the 2022 PGA Championship.
Mito Pereira is a major league ball striker. The 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour star won three times in one season to earn that coveted promotion to the PGA Tour. Born in Santiago, Chile, he may claim Tulsa as his second home if he can hold on for 18 more holes this week at the 104th PGA Championship. The past seven major winners of Southern Hills come in two categories. Short game gurus like Dave Stockton and Raymond Floyd, or elite compression artists like Tiger Woods and Nick Price. Mito falls into the later of those two types.
Last week in McKinney, Texas, at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Mito gained over nine shots against the field from tee to green. And on a day where the field went backwards, he managed to play under par.
Like so many in the field, he struggled through the middle of the course, playing Nos. 6-12 at 4 over par. Unlike many of his competitors, he didn’t let that stretch define his day.
Mito closed with three birdies over the final six holes and finished with a 69. His 1-under-par total cemented a three-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round.
Whether or not Pereira can maintain his #2-ranked Strokes Gained Tee to Green, and #2 ranking in putting will go a long way to determining his fate on Sunday.
Sunday is slated to be a great finale. It has been 6 years since Danny Willett made his first victory a major championship. Breaking into the winner’s circle is hard enough on the PGA Tour, let alone raising the coveted Wannamaker Trophy.