5 burning questions for the finals in Southern Hills

The 2022 PGA Championship has just 18 holes remaining with Mito Pereira leading the way. What are the big questions ahead of Sunday’s finals?

On the Saturday and weekend of the 2022 PGA Championship, golf fans knew the weather was about to change, with the wind picking up a bit but temperatures dropping dramatically. That would create a new test – but the expectation was that the heavyweights like Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas and even Rory McIlroy would make a statement after 36 holes.

Instead, it was young Chilean Mito Pereira, a player still looking for his first PGA Tour win, who took control of the second major championship of the year.

With an impressive 69 on a day when almost nobody shot under par, Pereira jumped to 9-under for the tournament, giving him a three-shot lead on Sunday and looking poised for his first win outside of the Korn Ferry Tour achieve a meaningful

However, given the conditions and how hard Southern Hills played, nothing is certain about the final 18 holes. There’s still a lot of drama ahead for the finals on Sunday, and with that in mind, these five questions will be front and center on the final day of the 2022 PGA Championship before a champion is crowned.

PGA Championship 2022: Burning questions for the final round

5. Can Mito Pereira hold on to his first win and first major?

Pereira is one of only two players in the field to have underperformed in every round of the tournament so far – and his 69 on Saturday could be even more impressive given the weather conditions than the 64 he hit on Friday.

Still, we’ve seen players who looked cold-blooded on points in this tournament keep falling back to earth. It happened to Rory, JT, Zulatoris and many others. Now with the pressure of winning his first tournament at a major championship since joining the PGA Tour, it will be fascinating to watch the final 18 holes as Pereira handles it on a course that has shown its teeth many times this week .

4. Has Will Zlatoris gotten his bad round out of the way?

After a 66-65 start to the PGA Championship, it seemed like it was Zatoris’ turn to walk away for his own first win since joining the PGA Tour. As is so often the case, however, the putter proved to be the youngster’s nemesis on Saturday. After gaining 6.18 strokes on field on the greens as he took the lead in the first two rounds, Zlatoris returned 1.52 strokes on the putter.

However, the question is whether this was the breakaway lap. If so, could we see Willy Z storming up the rankings from three behind Pereira and taking the glory of the first win from his fellow competitor? You can’t rule it out.

3. Did everyone overlook Matt Fitzpatrick?

The other guy who’s at 6-under with Zulatoris in second place? Matt Fitzpatrick. That might surprise you, considering he wasn’t part of the conversation over the weekend, despite lurking at 3-under. However, with a 3-under 67 on Saturday, he’s strong in the mix now and another player looking for his first win in the States.

What stands out for Fitzpatrick, however, is that his putting has fueled his performance. He’s gained 5.71 shots flat this week, one of the best marks in the field. Can he keep that up to push the rankings further up and maybe cost him the win? Or will he come back to earth and fall short as a result.

2. Will Cameron Young be the one to get his first win?

Sitting just behind Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris is Cameron Young, a dark horse for many coming into the week, and with good reason. His ability to play on different types of courts and compete during his rookie PGA Tour season has him on many people’s radar and he’s proving once again he’s the man by going after a Friday and Saturday 1-over-round back-to-back 67 shoots to start his week.

Most importantly, Young has been consistent with his scoring this week and has been winning shots across the board, most impactfully (as expected) with the driver. The way this tournament has played out so far, it’s hard to shut him out by four shots the way he’s managed so far.

1. Do Justin Thomas or even Rory McIlroy have any Sunday magic?

Saturday was a day to forget for JT and Rory as they headed towards the Twin 74s that day. This puts Thomas seven strokes behind Pereira and McIlroy a whopping nine strokes behind the pace.

While that’s a gulf between the two stars and the front runner, these are two of the top scorers in the world. We saw McIlroy try to chase down Scottie Scheffler in August and Thomas also performed well on Sundays. If Pereira and the other players looking for a first win falter under the pressure while Thomas and McIlroy go down, it could justifiably get in the way.

The question says it all though: do they have the Sunday magic to achieve that in the finals? All eyes should be on to see if they do.

For more of The PGA Tourbe sure to follow FanSided and stay up to date our golf center for all news and results. 5 burning questions for the finals in Southern Hills

John Verrall

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