LAS VEGAS — Chile’s Mito Pereira birdied half of the holes for an 8-under 63 at the Presidents Cup at the Shriners Children’s Open on Friday.
Pereira birdied 5 at TPC Summerlin and birdied every hole except the par-4 12th, where he had to save par off the green.
His one par came at the end of the round when he made a 20-foot birdie run to 6 feet near the cup and a three-putt for bogey.
Pereira finished one shot ahead of Robbie Shelton at 12-under 130, who carded the par-59 for a 63 on the final hole.
Behind him were 20-year-olds Tom Kim and Si Woo Kim, who were top performers for the international team at Quail Hollow two weeks ago. Another shot was Australia’s Cam Davies, who also made a strong debut in the Presidents Cup.
Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence. The Internationals were out of charge at the Saudi-run LIV Golf due to several defections, but they posed a brief threat to the mighty Americans on the eve of another American victory.
Perera said it was down to captain Trevor Immelman reminding him that every night they are great players who can win.
“I think Trevor has done a good job encouraging us that we are good, that we are playing golf,” Pereira said. “So I think we’ll carry that over here. We’re playing really well right now.”
Also in the mix were two other internationals, Christian Bezuidenhout and reigning champion Sungjaeem, five behind.
One of the American stars is not so bad. Patrick Cantley continues to give himself a great look at the birdie, no small feat on the TPC Summerlin course, which has been renovated with new grass on the fairways and greens. That takes time to settle in, meaning the greens are hard and it’s hard to get close to it.
Canteli had to settle for another 67, leaving him four behind in the group. Cantelli, the world No. 4 with two wins this year, has won and finished second in his four appearances at TPC Summerlin.
“I’m not too upset about it,” Cantley said when asked if he was troubled by making bogey in a good score.
Perera is riding high on the confidence gained from the Presidents Cup. More May is on his mind as the Chilean is on the verge of winning the PGA Championship. He had a one-shot lead playing the 18th at South Hills when he drove into a creek, missed the green and made two bogeys to miss the playoff by one shot.
It was a tough loss for the rest of the majors, though it put him in the top 50 and allowed him to play in the Presidents Cup. He still thinks about it occasionally, “but only in the past.”
“I’m trying to get my first win here,” he said.
Si Woo Kim had the best and worst of the back nine at Summerlin. He went into the water on the par-4 12th, going for triple bogey from behind the green. On accessible par 4 15, record an eagle shot. It is added up to 68, and is a big part of the picture on the weekend.
So is Tom Kim, who won his first PGA Tour victory two months ago. He had a 67 even though he would bide on any of the par 5s and go through the scorable stretch on the back.
“I’m pretty cool now,” Tom Kim said. “I didn’t make any birdies and I closed it with 10 pars in a row. It was pretty boring after nine, but I hung in there and held my own. I think that’s the biggest thing.”