Then Cameron Young, a rising young star on the PGA Tour, and Bubba Watson, a 43-year-old two-time Masters champion, charged one shot off the lead.
When play ended on Saturday night, Pereira, who is 27 and competing in only his second major golf championship, had confidently, if not daringly, reclaimed the top spot in the standings. After a third-round 69, he will enter Sunday’s final round with a three-stroke lead over England’s Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Pereira, after a mid-round stumble, passed the other third-round contenders with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes. Then, with a crowded 18th green stand cheering him on, he capped off his day with a 27-foot birdie putt to move to nine under for the tournament.
Although Pereira, who is ranked 100th in the world, is not a household name in professional golf, he has three top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour this year and is a three-time winner of the Korn Ferry Tour, the world’s top tour. circuit minor leagues.
Zalatoris had a bumpy start on Saturday, shooting a four-of-39 on the front nine, but stabilized by healing some of his hitting issues to shoot a rocky 73.
After bugging his first two holes, Fitzpatrick was within five under for the rest of his round to shoot 67.
Young, whose father is David Young, the longtime golf professional at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in suburban New York, made a late charge when he hit the 296-yard par-4 17th hole while driving the green and making a short putt. With four birdies in his round, Young shot 67 and was in fourth place at five under.