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Pereira, backed by late birdies, leads by 3 at PGA

TULSA, Okla. — Mito Pereira, the largely unknown journeyman from Chile, birdied three of his final six holes Saturday to shoot 1-under 71, giving him a three-shot lead over Matt Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris heading into the final round of the PGA Championship.

The 27-year-old Pereira was at 9 under for the tournament after an up-and-down round that began with two early birdies, contained four bogeys during a five-hole stretch making the turn, and ended with a brilliant birdie putt on the 18th.

Zalatoris, the second-round leader, followed rounds of 66-65 with a shaky 73 at Southern Hills that left him tied with Fitzpatrick, who played back side in 3 under Saturday to join Zalatoris at 6 under for the championship.

Bubba Watson, whose 63 on Friday tied the PGA record, was on the move again early Saturday. But he stumbled badly down the stretch, making three bogeys over his final four holes to finish seven shots off the lead.

As the round was wrapping up, the tournament’s official Twitter feed announced that Tiger Woods had withdrawn after Round 3.

Woods shot the worst round of his PGA Championship career Saturday, hitting two shots into the water, making five straight bogeys for the first time in a major championship and finishing with a 9-over 79 at Southern Hills.

It was 10 shots worse than his score on Friday, when he barely made the cut, and left him 12 over for the tournament.

Woods actually rallied down the stretch Saturday, playing the last five holes in 1 under. And when he rolled in a 36-footer for his only birdie at the par-4 15th, he finally allowed a smile to slip amid a round full of painful grimaces.

He narrowly avoided matching his worst round in a major championship, which came when he shot 10-over 81 during the third round of the 2002 British Open at Muirfield. That was the same year he won the Masters and U.S. Open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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