Why Mito Pereira is poised for a breakout year on the PGA Tour in 2022
The PGA Tour is about to take its winter break and give the world’s top pros a rest before returning in January for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
It was a thrilling year of golf, which saw Hideki Matsuyama become the first Japanese golfer to win a men’s major, courtesy of his Masters win at Augusta. Phil Mickelson proved that there’s plenty of life in the old dogs, as he became the oldest man to win a major at 50, with his two-stroke win in the PGA Championship. Jon Rahm broke his major duck with the U.S. Open, and Collin Morikawa became the first player in the modern era to win two majors in less than 10 major appearances, as he lifted the Claret Jug at The Open Championship.
Oh, and don’t forget about Team USA’s absolute demolition of the Europeans in the Ryder Cup.
So, what about 2022, and which players will shine on the golf course in the next 12 months? There is a host of talented players coming through the ranks, but one name you should remember is Mito Pereira.
History on the Korn Ferry Tour
The 26-year-old from Chile played just one year of college golf at Texas Tech before turning pro in 2015. The teenager quickly became the youngest player ranked No. 1 on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, as he won one tournament and finished in the top 10 in six other starts in his first full season.
Joining the Korn Ferry Tour, Pereira’s game stepped up a level, and in 2019 he posted six top-10 finishes in 18 events, as he showed off a remarkable level of consistency. He finished the year 10th in the Order of Merit.
The best was yet to come, though, as in the last 24 months, he won the Country Club de Bogota Championship, REX Hospital Open, and the BMW Charity Pro-Am to receive the Three-Victory Promotion to the PGA Tour. He’s only the 12th player to ever achieve this, and nobody has managed to do it in the last six years.
A lightning start and an Olympic playoff
Pereira kick-started his PGA Tour career properly in July, and despite missing the cut in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, he put in a solid effort in the John Deere Classic before back-to-back top-six finishes in the Barbasol Championship and 3M Open.
Representing Chile at the Olympics, he finished in a tie for third with Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Sebastian Munoz, CT Pan, Paul Casey, and Matsuyama. Pan won the playoff for the bronze medal, but that was some impressive company for Pereira to finish alongside, and he’s spoken in detail about what it meant for him to play for Chile on the big stage.
Since September, he has made six cuts from seven tournaments and finished 31st or better in five of them. That includes finishing third in the Fortinet Championship won by Max Homa.
Pereira's irons are dialed in
Despite the season only being a few months old, Pereira ranks 13th on Tour in strokes gained approaching the green and 28th for strokes gained tee to green.
Although he’s not a bomber off the tee, the Chilean makes up for it with brilliant accuracy and consistently finds his greens in regulation. His short game is fantastic, and he proved he can putt under pressure when he won a playoff in the REX Hospital Open on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Off the course, there’s plenty to like as well. Pereira has hired an agent to help manage his Tour schedule and has moved to Florida with his fiancée. The wedding is planned for January, which will be an ideal way for him to kick-start what could be a breakout year for the young star.
He’s grounded and level-headed in his interviews, and if he can bring his laid-back style to a final pairing on Sunday, it should help tee him up for success.
The rookie is seriously talented and could win a Tour event next year at a nice price. He seems to putt better on Bentgrass greens and has the ability to contend when it gets into a shoot-out — he carded scores of 21-under par and 27-under par in two of his Korn Ferry wins. He is an elite ball striker who should make bettors money across prop bets and outright markets next year.