PGA Championship 2022 Tee Times: Pairings and Predictions for Sunday Schedule

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2022

Mito Pereira, of Chile, chips to the green on the fourth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Wanamaker Trophy is within reach for a handful of golfers going into Sunday at the 2022 PGA Championship.

Mito Pereira came out of Saturday's third round with the lead, but he was not convincing enough around Southern Hills Country Club to be declared as the clear-cut favorite as much as Scottie Scheffler was at The Masters. 

Will Zalatoris, Matt Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young all had their chances to stake claim to the top position on Saturday. 

Zalatoris dropped out of the 36-hole lead, but he battled back to remain within striking distance of Pereira, who was his Saturday playing partner. 

Fitzpatrick and Young used surges on the back nine to insert their names into the major-winning conversation. Fitzpatrick rolled in four birdies in the final nine holes, while Young birdied the 17th hole to get to five-under. 

The common factor between the four leaders is that none of them have won a major championship in their careers. 

Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Stewart Cink and Webb Simpson all reside in the top 10 with major titles on their respective resumes. The last major won by that group was Thomas' 2017 triumph at the PGA Championship, but they all still now how to handle the pressure on Sunday at a major tournament. 

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Mito Pereira Struggles To Hold Lead 

Mito Pereira started strong and finished well on Saturday, but the in between holes were not as great. 

The Chilean suffered bogeys on four holes between No. 8 and No. 12 before he rebounded with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 18th holes. 

The inconsistency shown by Pereira on the middle holes leaves some doubt that he will maintain his lead throughout the final round. 

Pereira only owns three bogeys on the front nine at Southern Hills, but two of them came before the turn on Saturday. 

The struggles around the turn may affect Pereira's play during the final round as the pressure increases as the holes wind down. 

Pereira could turn around that form with some solid pars, or even an early birdie to settle his nerves, but his play on Saturday did not inspire 100 percent confidence that he will finish the job on Sunday. 


Matt Fitzpatrick Once Again Produces Steady Round

Matt Fitzpatrick is the only golfer other than Pereira with three under-par rounds at Southern Hills.

The Englishman moved up to six-under with a three-under 67 on Saturday. 

Fitzpatrick carded scores of 68, 69 and 67 so far in Tulsa, Oklahoma and another similar round could be enough for him to land first place. 

Most of the other golfers in the field struggled with consistency and bogeyed a handful of holes before bouncing back on Saturday. 

Fitzpatrick took advantage of the yo-yoing on the leaderboard with six birdies and one bogey in the final 16 holes that erased a back-to-back bogey start.

The bad start from Fitzpatrick would be the only concern about his title contention, but he proved on Saturday that he could rebound from that and put himself near the top of the leaderboard.  


Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas Challenge For Win

Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas did not crater their winning chances on Saturday, like Rory McIlroy did. 

The pair of former major winners salvaged their third rounds enough to be in contention for the Wanamaker Trophy.

All it takes is a two-or-three-shot swing that features dropped shots out of Pereira or others and early birdies from Watson and Thomas to change their fortunes on Sunday. 

Watson, who last won a major at The Masters in 2014, has not been a fixture in the top 10 ever since. He has a single top 10 performance from The Masters in 2018 on his resume. 

The left-handed golfer surged back into major relevancy with a second-round 63, which is the lowest round of the tournament to date. 

Watson already proved on Friday that he could reel off a string of birdies on the front nine, and he could bank off those results to make an early push on Sunday afternoon. 

Thomas hung around in the top 10 despite recording six bogeys during the third round. The third-round 74 is not a great sign for his title contention, but it has been hard for anyone to stay under par all weekend. 

Thomas carded four birdies on the front nine in the opening two rounds. He could use those holes as a catalyst to get close to Pereira. 

Watson and Thomas do not go into Sunday off great closing stretches. They both bogeyed the 18th hole, but they can bounce back and bank on their experience to put pressure on Pereira.