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Mito Pereira, two shots off Fortinet lead, having quite a year on and off course

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Mito Pereira has been through hardships with his game, but after securing a PGA Tour card earlier this year, things have gone up for Pereira, not just on the course, but off it, too. 

In 2018, he lost his Korn Ferry Tour card and then played on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit. But this past June, the 26-year-old Chilean became the 12th player on the Korn Ferry Tour to earn a three-win promotion to the PGA Tour. 

He got his feet wet on Tour at the Rocket Mortgage Classic (MC) and made his first cut at the John Deere Classic, but eventually found a groove for three straight weeks, finishing T-5 at the Barbasol Championship, T-6 at the 3M Open and then he nearly took home a medal from Japan, placing T-4 at the Olympics. 

"Oh, the Olympics was so much fun," Pereira said on Friday at the Fortinet Championship. "You play for something bigger, my country. Not everybody knows what the PGA Tour is, but everybody in Chile at least knows what the Olympics are. I got so many texts and people who didn't even play golf just saying like, Hey, I'm going to support you, I'm from Chile, so it was such a good experience."

Full-field scores from the Fortinet Championship

Through 36 holes of the Tour's 2021-22 season opener, Pereira is two shots off the lead at 10 under after shooting back-to-back 67s. But just getting a chance to play on Tour has been a dream come true for the former Texas Tech Red Raider and 2014-15 All-Big 12 Championship team member. 

"Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, I think everybody wants to play [on Tour]," he said. "Since I was probably 4 years old, 5 years old I've wanted to play here and I'm here right now and played pretty well, so I'm like, it's not like real, you know? I'm here, but you always get here and you want more and I want to win. You know, it's life, everybody wants more, but I'm pretty happy here."

And the milestones on the course are translating to milestones off it as well. 

Pereira hired an agent to help with all the logistics of being on Tour and after not playing in the FedExCup playoffs last month, he took the time to find a new home in Tequesta, Florida, as he hopes to spend more time in the U.S. this Tour season with his fiancée, whom he's marrying in January. 

"I'm going to get married, so we probably need a place here to go in the off weeks," he said. "So even if I miss a cut I just can go there two or three days, so the traveling is easier."