Watson closes in on PGA Championship lead before late fade

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — It’s been a long time since Bubba Watson contended for the PGA Championship. And he was right there for a while on Saturday.

An up-and-down third round at blustery Southern Hills put Watson tantalizingly close to the lead until he faded late with some trouble finding fairways and greens over the back nine. A putter that was razor-sharp in a round of 63 on Saturday blunted down the backstretch.

Still, a 3-over 73 was good enough to keep the 43-year-old within sight of the youth movement at the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

Watson is tied for seventh, seven strokes behind leader Mito Pereira. Pereira took the lead after Will Zalatoris, who had played well during the first two days in Tulsa, shot a 73. Pereira shot a 69.

There’s plenty to play for in the championship’s final round. Pereira’s lead is nowhere near safe, as Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick only trail by three strokes.