2022 PGA Championship standings breakdown: Stars slip as Matthew Fitzpatrick falls low and rises in contention

2022 PGA Championship standings breakdown: Stars slip as Matthew Fitzpatrick falls low and rises in contention

Moving Day at the 2022 PGA Championship was like changing lanes in stopped traffic. A lot of action happened, a lot of risk was taken, and there was this car that took the shoulder and went around almost everyone. As 36-hole leader Mito Pereira held firm in the final group and eventually posted a 1-under 69 to retain his spot atop the leaderboard, Matt Fitzpatrick was the vehicle that jumped on his shoulder.

The Englishman has been tremendous this season, and although he remained without a professional win in the United States, the 27-year-old should relish his chances of lifting the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick isn’t the only one looking for his first career PGA Tour win as Pereira, Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young – the top four men in the standings – will all be looking for their first PGA Tour win in the second major championship of the season. .

With so many unknowns at the top of the leaderboard, it’s possible someone will come from behind and steal the Wanamaker just below this group. Abraham Ancer and Justin Thomas fit that mold perfectly, as both are proven winners who have found success in this championship, in particular.

While Pereira’s three-time lead may seem difficult to overcome, things tend to move fast in the final round of a major championship. In other words, everything is possible on Sunday.

One thing that is not possible? Watch Tiger Woods play his fourth 18-hole set. Woods has decided to retire from the PGA Championship at the end of the third round after shooting a 9 of 79 and sitting tied for last place. After his round, Tiger cited pain as a concern and he ultimately decided to retire from a major tournament for the first time as a professional golfer.

There are still a lot of actions to tackle and that is exactly what we plan to do. Below is an overview of the standings as they stand after Round 3.

1. Mito Pereira (-9): There was a lot of good and a lot of bad in Pereira’s third round, but in the end it added up to a 1-under 69. That was enough to give himself a three-stroke lead going into the final round as the Chilean became the first player to hold the absolute 54-hole lead on his PGA Championship debut since John Daly in 1991. Although Pereira has that notch in his belt, he will be looking to add another Sunday as he wins in a first championship is a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in 11 years when Keegan Bradley did it at the Atlantic Athletic Club.

T2. Matt Fitzpatrick, Will Zalatoris (-6): A slow start saw Fitzpatrick fall to 1 under for the championship after his first two holes. He could have packed like many of his counterparts did on Saturday, but instead catapulted himself into the final group. He played his last 16 holes in less than 5 and finished in style thanks to a birdie on the difficult par-4 of the 18th. Fitzpatrick is a proven winner across the pond, but has inexplicably been ruled out on American soil. Everything could change on Sunday.

The putter gave up Zalatoris early, but the kind of determination he showed was admirable. His third round could have easily eluded him after he was 4 of seven and was up to five shots behind Pereira. Instead, he kept a cool head and in doing so, stayed within headshot. He won’t find his name in the final pairing on Sunday, but maybe that’s a good thing because he’ll see a familiar face on the first tee instead.

4. Cameron Young (-5): Young may no longer be called “Will Zalatoris’ college roommate” after this week as the PGA Tour rookie continues to battle on golf’s biggest stage. An eagle on the par-4 17th propelled his name to the front page of the leaderboard in his PGA Championship debut. The 25-year-old already has three finalists this season and he hopes Sunday doesn’t result in a fourth. As mentioned, grouping up with Zalatoris will help take the edge off the final round jitters, but for some reason I doubt he even has any.

5. Abraham Ancer (-4): Ancer didn’t finish in the top 30 in a stroke play event this year in the United States, so this performance comes as a bit of a shock. He finished in a flurry last season at Kiawah Island and wrapped up his PGA Championship with a 7-under performance. It’s his only top 10 in his career as a major champion, and he should be able to add to that on Sunday.

Rick Gehman, Mark Immelman and Jonathan Coachman recap Saturday’s action from Southern Hills. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple podcast and Spotify.

6. The Power of Seamus (-3): It is not Rory McIlroy or Shane Lowry but rather Power who leads the Irish contingent with 18 holes to play. He made the most of his Moving Day, jumping 17 spots in the standings. I’m not sure about his stamina in this tournament, but if tipsters love his compatriots for their abilities to play well in bad weather, maybe we should give Power the same benefit of the doubt.

T7. Stewart Cink, Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas (-2): If there’s a final-round 63 ala Johnny Miller out there on Sunday, it’s likely to come from this group. Another Saturday at a major championship saw Thomas disappoint when the 2017 PGA Championship winner signed for a 4 of 74. His two senior statesmen seemed more comfortable there, and he may be pushing a bit too much for the major number 2.

T10. Webb Simpson, Max Homa and five others (-1): Simpson left early and took full advantage of moving day as he made his way to the weekend in full act. Signing for a 5-under 65, the former US Open champion went from a tie for 64th at the start of the day to inside the top 10 by the end of the set. His probability of victory is still slim, but if he can somehow repeat his performance in the third round, Simpson has an outside chance to add a second major title to his resume.

T17. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and four others (E): Rory shot 5-under 65 on Thursday, and if he had just held serve by then, he’d only be a few in the lead. Instead, the four-time major champion finds himself nine shots behind after back-to-back rounds above par. If Friday was disappointing, I don’t know how McIlroy would describe Saturday’s 74. The eight-year major drought will continue for the Northern Irishman unless he can summon his same Augusta National Sunday magic.

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