But the 27-year-old Chilean journeyman, who surprised essentially the entire golf world by bringing a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round in his PGA Championship debut, could have won a lot more had it not been for an incredibly costly mistake on his 72nd hole.
Mito Pereira lost $2 million on the final hole of the 2022 PGA Championship
Following rounds of 68, 64, and 69 over the first three days at Southern Hills, Pereria came into the fourth and final round of the 2022 PGA Championship at 9-under for the week and held a three-shot lead over Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick. The latter joined him in the final pairing of the day.
Pereira didn’t play his best golf on Sunday but still maintained at least a share of the lead throughout the afternoon. There were numerous players within a shot or two of the lead as the day went along, obviously including the two men who battled it in the playoff that Pereira missed out on, Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris.
Fitzpatrick did his best to stay in it but could never really get anything going either. Cameron Young was in solo second for a bit, but a double-bogey six at the par-4 16th ruined his chances.
Despite being 3-over for his round through 17 holes, Pereira still came to the 490-yard, par-4 18th with a one-stroke lead at 6-under. But all of a sudden, after seemingly never succumbing to the pressure of this PGA Championship being the biggest stage of his professional life through 71 holes, Mito collapsed.
Questionably using driver, Pereira hit his tee shot 297 yards, but it flew to the right and bounced into the creek. But he certainly wasn’t out of it at that point as he could still make a bogey and get into the playoff. Playing three, his approach to the 18th green missed the putting surface, leaving Mito a delicate shot to get up and down.
But his fourth sped past the hole and ran off the green on the other side. He chose to putt his fifth, but his effort came up short. He finally holed out on his sixth stroke, leaving him one shot shy of the playoff, which Thomas won.
A tie for third with Young at 4-under earned Pereira $870,000, which is certainly a nice chunk of change. However, the winner’s share of the $15 million purse was $2.7 million. So his blunder on the 72nd hole cost him $2 million. Mito also missed out on a lifetime exemption to the PGA Championship and five-year exemptions for The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Tour.
So while still a great day for his career, Mito Pereira’s Sunday could have been much, much better.
Stats courtesy of PGATour.com