Written by
Asian Tour Staff
Feb 23 2024
- 4 MIN
Mito 1920

Chilean star Mito Pereira birdied his final four holes to charge into the halfway lead at the $2 million International Series Oman today – his stunning finish matching the spectacular, scenic coastline here at Al Mouj Golf, in Muscat.

He shot a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to take the lead at 11 under by one shot over Matthew Wolff from the United States, who overpowered the course with his renowned big-hitting game from the tee to equal the course record with a stunning 9-under round of 63.

American Peter Uihlein shot a 66 to finish the day tied for third with Australian Kevin Yuan, who carded a 68. They are both at 9 under in the first event of the year on The International Series and the second stop of the season on the Asian Tour.

Overnight leader David Puig from Spain, last week’s winner of Malaysia’s National Open – the Asian Tour’s season opener – surprisingly shot a 75 to slide back to 4 under.

“It was really nice. I played solid the whole day. Had a slow start, then at the end I made four birdies in a row,” said Pereira, who is attempting to win for the first time since the BMW Charity Pro-Am in 2021 on the Korn Ferry Tour, although he was victorious four times last year on the LIV Golf League with Team Torque GC.

“I will approach the weekend the same, it’s been working the past two days so I will just keep trying to do that. Why change it? Try to hit every fairway and make some putts.”

Pereira, who tied for 11th here last year in the inaugural edition of the event, made just one birdie on the front nine. A birdie on No. 10 was followed by a steady run of pars before his brilliant finish.

Wolff, who is on LIV Golf’s RangeGoats GC, has been working hard to get his game back on track. However, he finished fourth individually recently in LIV Golf Las Vegas and after today’s performance, he looks like being one of the favorites this weekend.

“I had a blast," Wolff said. "I drove it really nice which allowed everything else to be a little easier. I am taking golf a little less seriously. I am also working hard with my coach George Gankas, but more than anything just putting a good perspective on things. Knowing that golf is not the most important thing in the world. I know that all I can do is give it my best, and the rest is out of my control.”

He also did not drop a shot, made five birdies going out, and four coming back to resemble the golfer who made such a big impact on the game when he turned professional in 2019 and won on the PGA Tour.

Yuan also impressed today and showed why he is one of the most exciting young prospects on the Asian Tour, and something of a specialist on The International Series.

Yuan, 26, birdied Nos. 17 and 18, which were two of his six birdies, and made two bogeys, both on the outward half.

He said: “I am really happy with the score and with how I played and my course management. I played pretty solid yesterday. Didn’t make many mistakes so happy with it overall.

“The golf course is awesome, the fairways are pure, the greens are rolling really nice, a 30-footer on the right line has a really good chance. It is just awesome to be out here.”

He ended fifth last week off the back of a breakthrough 2023 season when he finished tied for second in the International Series Vietnam, and fifth in the International Series Thailand. Those results helped him into 32nd place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

“My game has not changed that much but the bits and pieces are starting to add up. It has really helped with my score, with my play. Hopefully I can keep this up,” he added.

Thailand’s Sarit Suwannarut (68) and Mexican Carlos Ortiz (69) are tied fifth at 8 under.

For Sarit it was his fourth successive 68 after carding the same score as his first round, having shot 68 in the last two rounds last week, which helped him into 22nd place.

“I am pretty happy,” said Sarit, winner of last year’s Volvo China Open – an event on The International Series.

“I have been working with my coach and my team to be more consistent. It showed last week when I played consistently.

“I am working on my mental side, how to behave on the golf course, focus shot by shot, focus on what I have to do, not the result or the outcome. I think it is working pretty good.”

Defending champion Takumi Kanaya from Japan added a 69 to his opening 70 and is well placed heading into the weekend at 5 under. He is tied with a strong group that includes Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent (69) Lucas Herbert (69) from Australia, Chilean Joaquin Niemann (73), Korea’s Bio Kim (70) and Ervin Chang (71) from Malaysia.

Photo Credit: Asian Tour

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