DUBLIN, Ohio — If adversity truly makes you stronger, Mito Pereira is entering superhero territory.
What more can happen to the 27-year-old Chilean who emerged from scoring Saturday after posting a 2-under 70 at the Memorial Tournament and grumbled: “What do you want me to say? It’s so bad.”
Pereira, now a Tequesta resident, believed he had a birdie at No. 14 after his chip from 33-feet hung over the hole for more than 30 seconds before dropping, much to the delight of the gallery.
But following his round, Pereira was told he did not address the ball in the required time and the score was changed to a par. Rule 13.3 states “If any part of your ball is overhanging the lip, you are allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and then a further 10 seconds to wait and see whether it will drop.”
If that time exceeds 10 seconds, the player is given the same score as if the ball was tapped in.
Holding out his hand as if to say, “Why did you not drop,’ Pereira walked to the ball in reasonable time. He took a look at it and stepped away.
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“It was jiggling,” he said.
As someone in the gallery shouted “Don’t touch it,” Pereira’s caddy, Scott McGuinness, carefully removed the pin from the hole.
“I was going to tap it in, it was moving and then I waited,” Pereira said.
Finally, the ball disappeared. The crowd roared. Pereira and his playing partner, Jupiter’s Keegan Bradley, bumped fists.
Pereira never thought about it again until he was approached by an official while at scoring.
“They said it was 30 (seconds),” he said. “Pretty long but I don’t think it was 30. I think it’s not a very good rule, but it is what it is.”
Believing he was 5-under for his round, and within three shots of the lead, Pereira parred No. 15 but had his first extended blip with consecutive bogeys on 16 and 17. He nearly finished with three straight bogeys but got up and down on No. 18 from the rough, about 73 feet away.
Pereira proved two weeks ago he has the ability to forget the past. But he still must be wondering, “What more can happen?”
Needing a par on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship, Pereira sailed his drive right. It settled at the bottom of a narrow creek. That awkward swing ended any chances at not only his first major championship but first PGA Tour win of any kind as Pereira made a double-bogey and missed the playoff by one shot. He finished in a tie for third behind champion Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris.
The next week he finished in a tie for seventh at the Charles Schwab Challenge, posting middle-round scores of 66, 68.
“I just try to move on,” Pereira said. “It was still thinking about it. I did a good job trying to put my head into Colonial week and trying to play the best I can.
“The first day was kind of weird to come back and play again but then second and third and fourth it was OK.”
A lesson Pereira will take into his fourth round at Muirfield Village.
Pereira’s ascent on the leaderboard Saturday had everything to do with his play from tee to green. His in the top five in strokes gained off the tee and is in the top 10 in strokes gained tee to green.
“I hit really good drives, really good second shots,” he said. “I didn’t putt well all day.”
His putts for his five birdies were from 3, 7, 5, 1 and 6 feet.
When he needed a putt to save par, he missed from 6, 8 and 13 feet.
Now, Pereira has to put himself back to the mindset he was in entering the Charles Schwab and forget about Saturday’s final five holes in which one birdie was taken away and he stumbled to his only back-to-back bogeys on the day.
And if he was able to recover from giving away a major, Pereira should enter Sunday’s final round with a clear head.
Tom D’Angelo is a journalist at The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Memorial Tournament: Mito Pereira birdie changed to by in latest adversity