2022 PGA Championship standings breakdown: Stars slide as Matthew Fitzpatrick moves down and climbs into the competition


2022 PGA Championship standings breakdown: Stars slide as Matthew Fitzpatrick moves down and climbs into the competition

Moving Day at the 2022 PGA Championship was like changing lanes in traffic. A lot of action happened, a lot of risks were taken and there was this one car that pulled onto the hard shoulder and bypassed almost everyone. While 36-hole leader Mito Pereira held his own in the final group and eventually signed a 1-under-69 to maintain his place at the top of the leaderboard, Matt Fitzpatrick was the vehicle that hopped on his shoulder.

The Englishman has been great this season and although the 27-year-old has gone without a professional win in the United States, he should love 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 ranked – will all be seeking their first PGA Tour wins in the world’s second major championship Season.

With so much unknown at the top of the leaderboard, there’s a chance someone could come in from behind and steal the Wanamaker just below that group. Abraham Ancer and Justin Thomas fit this pattern perfectly as both are proven winners who have had particular success in this championship.

While Pereira’s three-stroke lead seems tough to break, things are moving fast on the final round of a major championship. Anything is possible on Sunday.

One thing that is not possible? Watching Tiger Woods serve for his fourth set of 18 holes. Woods decided to retire from the PGA Championship at the end of the third round after firing a 9-over-79 and sitting in a tie for last place. After his round, Tiger reported pain and eventually decided to retire from a major for the first time as a professional golfer.

There is still a lot to do and that is exactly what we intend to do. Below is an overview of the leaderboard as it stands 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-in-69. It was enough to move into the final round with a three-shot lead as the Chilean who has been since John Daly in 1991, the first player to lead 54 holes in his PGA championship debut. While Pereira has that notch on his belt, he will look to add another Sunday as victory in a Championship debut is a feat that hasn’t been achieved in 11 years when Keegan Bradley did it at the Atlantic Athletic Club.

T2. Matt Fitzpatrick, Will Zalatoris (-6): A slow start dropped Fitzpatrick to 1 under for the championship after his first two holes. Like many of his colleagues, he could have made it on Saturday, but instead he catapulted himself into the final group. He played his last 16 holes in 5 unders and finished with a bang courtesy of a birdie on the difficult par-4 18th. Fitzpatrick is a proven winner across the pond but has inexplicably been sidelined on US soil. That could change on Sunday.

The putter left Zatoris early, but the determination he showed was admirable. He could have easily eluded his third round after going 4-7 and falling up to five shots behind Pereira. Instead, he kept his cool while staying within reach of the lead. He won’t find his name on the final Sunday of mating, but maybe that’s a good thing because instead he’ll see a familiar face on the first tee.

4. Cameron Young (-5): Young can no longer be referred to as “Will Zatoris’ college roommate” after this week as the PGA Tour rookie continues to compete on golf’s biggest stage. An eagle on the par-4 17 put his name on the front page of the leaderboard on his PGA Championship debut. The 25-year-old has already had three runners-up this season and hopes that there won’t be a fourth on Sunday. As mentioned, grouping with Zalatoris will help ease the last-round jitters, but for some reason I doubt he’ll even have any.

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

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

6. Seamus power (-3): Not Rory McIlroy or Shane Lowry, but Power leads the Irish contingent with 18 holes to go. He made the most of his moving day and jumped 17 spots on the leaderboard. I’m not sure how much staying power he has in this tournament, but if forecasters value his countrymen for their ability to play well in ugly weather, perhaps we should give Power that same edge when in doubt.

T7. Stewart Cink, Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas (-2): If there’s a Finals ’63 like Johnny Miller on Sunday, he’ll probably come from that group. On another Saturday in a Major championship, Thomas disappointed when the 2017 PGA Championship winner signed for a 4-over-74. His two senior statesmen seemed more comfortable out there, and he may be pushing Major #2 a little too hard.

T10. Webb Simpson, Max Homa and five others (-1): Simpson started early and took full advantage of moving day as he made it through to the weekend straight on the number. The former US Open champion, who committed to a 5-under-65 title, rose from a tie for 64th place earlier in the day to the top 10 by the end of the round. His odds of winning are still slim, but if he can somehow repeat his performance in the third round, Simpson has a shot at adding a second major title to his résumé.

T17. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and four others (E): Rory shot 5-under 65 on Thursday, and if he’d just held serve between then and now, he’d be within feet of the lead. Instead, the four-time major champion finds himself nine shots down after consecutive rounds of over par. If Friday was disappointing, I’m not sure how McIlroy would describe Saturday 74th. The eight-year Great Drought will continue for the Northern Irishman unless he is able to summon his same Sunday magic from Augusta National.

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