Pereira Shoots 63, Leads Shelton by One Stroke in Shriners Children’s Open

Mito Pereira of Chile has won seven times as a pro, but never on the PGA Tour, although he has been close and he has put himself in position again.

The 27-year-old Pereira recorded an 8-under-par 63 in the second round to take a one-stroke lead over Robby Shelton midway through the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

Pereira was 0-2-1 for the International Team in the recent Presidents Cup, but said it raised his confidence.

“I think (Captain) Trevor (Immleman) did a really good job with us, encouraging us as how good we are, how good we play golf,” said Pereira, who tied for third in the 2022 PGA Championship. “So, I think we carry that over here. Right now, we’re just playing really well.

“I just played so well today and hit four shots inside three or four feet to set up birdies. I’m just really happy with the way I’ve played the first two rounds. I’ve just been playing great and want to keep it going.

“I’ve been making a lot of birdies, and so has everyone else, so I have to keep doing that. I’m just trying to get my first win out here.”

Pereira, who won three times on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 and 2021, had four birdies on the last six holes after starting on the back nine, and added five coming home on the front, making his lone bogey at No. 7 while finishing 36 holes at 12-under 130.

Shelton made five birdies while also starting on the back nine and added three more coming home on the front to post a bogey-free 63, while 20-year-old rising star Tom Kim of South Korea shot a bogey-free 67 and is two shots back in a tie for third with Maverick McNealy of Stanford and Portola Valley, who had two birdies on each nine in a 68, and Si Woo Kim of South Korea, who holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle at No. 16 in another 68.

“My ball-striking has been really good, but today I put my trusty putter back in the bag and she made a lot of putts for me,” said Shelton, who has won six times as a pro, including four times on the Korn Ferry Tour, but never on the PGA Tour. “I told my caddie, this one doesn’t feel the same.”

Cam Davis of Australia sank an 11-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole on his way to a 66 and is three down in a tie for sixth with Chad Ramey, who made a bogey on the first hole and then played bogey-free in another 66, and Kevin Streelman, who had one bogey in a 67.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who won the Shriners in 2017 and has finished second twice, carded a second straight 67 and is four shots back in a tie for with Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, who made four birdies on the back nine in a 68; Matthew NeSmith, who had a bogey-free 66; Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who had three birdies on each nine in a 67; Adam Hadwin of Canada, who made only one bogey in another 67, and S.H. Kim of South Korea, Sam Ryder and Keith Mitchell, who all finished at 69.

Defending champion Sungjae Im made a three-foot birdie putt while capping his 70 on the ninth hole and is tied for 17th.

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