A star is born, the most ridiculous bogey save you'll ever see, and Tony Finau once again stinks out the place. George Cooper wraps up the talking points from moving day at Southern Hills
Wet weather may have got the better of scoring during day three at the 2022 PGA Championship, but by no means did the talking points dry up at Southern Hills…
There was one question everybody started to ask as the third round unfolded at the 104th PGA Championship. Who on earth is Mito Pereira?
A former Texas Tech college golfer, Guillermo ‘Mito’ Pereira had only started in one major prior to play commencing at Southern Hills. The result? A missed cut at the 2019 US Open. At his second start, things appear to be ever so different.
The 27-year-old Chilean oozed class on day three as he pulled three shots clear at the PGA Championship, holding his nerve on the back-9 when others apparently couldn’t – albeit for a surging Matt Fitzpatrick – to move ahead of Will Zalatoris as the tournament’s outright leader.
Pereira has spent most of his career on the Korn Ferry Tour, earning his promotion to the PGA Tour in 2021 following back-to-back victories on the developmental circuit.
The relative inexperience meant that prior to his opening round on Thursday, the world number 100 sat at a near impossible 200/1 to win the tournament, reminiscent of a certain 50-year-old last year….
But after rebounding from a shaky middle to close with three birdies in his final six holes on Saturday, Pereira is now just 2/1 to lift the Wanamaker Trophy. Only time will tell if nerves get the better of the unexpected 54-hole leader come Sunday.
Simpson goes low on moving day
If conditions were supposed to be tough during a wet and windy third round at Southern Hills, clearly Webb Simpson was oblivious to the script. The 2012 US Open champion produced a classic case of ‘what course was that guy playing today?’, ignoring all the early blue numbers to card a sensational 5-under 65 in one of the rare low scores of round three.
While Simpson came up with the goods throughout moving day, it was on the par-5 13th where the American’s definitive moment took place. In arguably shot of the day, Simpson holed-out for a crowd-pleasing eagle from 71 yards, pitching over the water to dial it home and spearhead himself up the leaderboard.
Hickok’s sandy shenanigans
This next entry really needs to be seen to be believed. Kramer Hickok – the best name at this year’s tournament? – had never played in a major before qualifying for the Southern Hills showdown, but boy is he making up for lost time with some memorable moments in Oklahoma.
After making the cut at his maiden major to pair himself with Jon Rahm on Saturday, Hickok decided to go on the most bizarre adventure when he found the sand at the par-4 12th.
His first effort from the bunker was quite unfortunate, just catching the lip from an awkward spot to ricochet the ball against his foot despite a valiant effort to move out the way. While there is no penalty for hitting yourself in such a scenario, Hickok was dealt with the blow of seeing his third shot finish hidden in his feet marks to leave an impossible fourth.
The American took a whack, just about getting enough on it to force the ball out of the sand castle and get himself back to square one.
Then, instant karma. As if he were a major veteran, Hickok stepped back, composed himself, lined up the shot, and boom, fired it home for the most remarkable bogey you’re ever likely to see.
An early thunderstorm meant that play was halted for an hour in the morning, so for those tuning in unaware of the turbulent weather, you’d be forgiven if you mistook an expectedly sunny Oklahoma for the Scottish links.
Players felt it too. None more so than Louis Oosthuizen, who had more than just the LIV Golf Invitational rumours to hide from on Saturday…
But one man who clearly didn’t get the memo was Tony Finau, opting for the ‘Grandma’s curtains meets holiday in Hawaii look’ to secure NCG’s prestigious Worst Outfit of the Tournament award.
Twitter loved it too…
Spieth goes skipping
What is it with Jordan Spieth and logic defying shots? The Texan was at it once again on Saturday, this time using the water to his advantage to pull off an epic recovery to add to his repertoire of stupidly unrelatable golf shots.
After blowing his tee shot way right on the par-4 12th, Spieth found himself in a tricky situation behind a tree. But, with the help of the golfing gods, the three-time major champion somehow pulled it off, drawing a low punch around the tree and skipping his ball off the water as if this was a practice round at Augusta…
Tour pro joins Tiger-Mania
Tiger Woods moves the needle like no one else in sports. Period.
And just in case you needed a reminder of Woods’ popularity, Min Woo Lee shared a hearty Tweet to prove that just like us, even the world’s best marvel in the Big Cat’s presence.
During the rain delay on Saturday, a photo went viral showing the Australian filming Woods on the first hole before his own round at Southern Hills. Lee then responded to the tweet, reminding us that Tiger is EVERYONE’s hero in the golfing world, even for those competing against him.