Playing in just his second major, Pereira has refused to surrender to pressure, carding a one-under 69 to get to nine-under 201 and a three-shot advantage over England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and American Will Zalatoris heading into the final round at Southern Hills Country Club.

Pereira started the day one back but found himself alone with the lead after two holes when overnight leader Zalatoris bogeyed the 1st and he picked up a birdie at the 2nd.

The 27-year-old extended his lead to four before a mid-round wobble of bogeys over a five-hole stretch around the turn.

Mito Pereira makes his birdie putt on 18 to take a three-shot lead into the final round. PHOTO: Matthew Harris/Golf Picture Library.

But with his lead chopped to one, Pereira responded with back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 before closing out his round in style rolling in 27-footer at the last.

“Obviously that birdie really helped on 13 to get things going,” Pereira said.

“But I wasn't playing really bad in those bogeys. Just a couple, like one three-putt, one bad break. So it wasn't like I was losing my confidence. I was still hitting the ball really well so I just hold to that and like try to do my best.

“Today it was a really tough day. It was windy, cold, gusting. I thought I hit it really well. Hit some bad shots. But it's normal. So, I think I'm hitting the ball just awesome.”

When the day began, Fitzpatrick was heading in the wrong direction with bogeys on his opening two holes but he had just one the rest of the way while carding six birdies, including a pair to end his round for 67.

Will Zalatoris signals fore after a wayward drive. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Second-round leader Zalatoris never manage to heat up on a cold day in Oklahoma, taking four bogeys on his outward nine on was to a three-over 73.

Cameron Young also had a 67 to lurk four off the lead.

Pereira, Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris and Young are all in pursuit of their first PGA Tour win.

After dealing with heat and gusting winds through the opening two rounds, golfers faced dramatically different conditions on Saturday as rain and cold settled in over Tulsa.

With temperatures hovering around 32 Celcius, players sweated out a wind-whipped second round. But on Saturday with temperatures around 10 degrees, mitts, sweaters and umbrellas were the order of the day.

Woods withdrew after having the third worst round of his career at a major, carding a nine-over 79 to leave him at the bottom of the leaderboard of those who made the halfway cut.

But he was not alone. U.S Open champion and World No.2 Jon Rahm had a 76 and Open Champion and World No.3 Collin Morikawa signed for a 74.

– Steve Keating