AT&T Byron Nelson: Sebastian Munoz sets hot pace with 60 but has poor record with a first round lead

The Colombian is three shots clear of the field after a sensational Thursday at TPC Craig Ranch.

There was no question in the head of Sebastian Munoz when he was stood in the middle of the 18th fairway at the end of his first round.

What was he thinking?

"59," he said after signing his card.

The Colombian was seeking golf's magic number and he had the opportunity because he was on fire.

He'd started his week in the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch with three early birdies and a bogey at the eighth, but then he ignited his charge to the line with a run of eagle-birdie-birdie-eagle in the next four holes.

He could find only one par breaker in the next three holes, but two more birdies at 16 and 17, and a drive to the middle of the short grass on 18, left him two blows from a sub-60 score.

"I wanted to give myself a chance," he said. "I had 250 to the pin into the wind. I kind of wanted to hit like a bullet, like a little draw. But I knew if I want to hit it close had to be a fade-y, soft-landing shot. I tried to do that. Overdid it and ended up with a 60, which is really good around here."

Yeah, 60 is very good.

And he also underplayed his birdie which needed an up-and-down from 40 yards, converted with an 11-foot putt that left him with a second 60 of the season (the first came on Thursday at the RSM Classic) and added his name to an exclusive club: he joins Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk as the only players to go sub-61 twice in the same campaign.

He's made 10 of his last 12 cuts, a run that had two early top five finishes and he's landed top 30s in five of his last six starts.

"I started working in Las Vegas with my caddie, Jose at the start of that run," he explained. "I feel like ever since he got on the bag we've had good vibes. We understand each other. We kind of speak a language that we can both see our shots and our distances.

"I feel like that has really helped. Besides that, I'm just a little more consistent. Trying to avoid the big mood swings. I feel like that's huge."

Incredibly, he had made eagle at the ninth and 12th in the first round 12 months ago and he said of this year's hot spell: "It's a great feeling whenever everything is clicking, hitting the tee shots, ball is coming out in the window that you imagined, the putts, that you're reading good the putts. The speed. When everything is going it's just stay out of the way and just kind of let it happen.

"So that's what I did. I mean, I had a tough putt on 12 for eagle and like I was thinking like, it's okay if I don't make this one. Then it was like, I know I can make it, trust what you're doing, let's keep it going. I made it.

"I'm really happy."

He takes a three-shot lead into the second day on a leaderboard that is notably international.

Chile's Mito Pereira shares second with the Americans Justin Lower and Peter Malnati plus Korea's KH Lee after they all carded 64.

Another home-grown player, Kyle Wilshire, is alone in sixth after a 65.

Ireland's Seamus Power, South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, Mexico's Carlos Ortiz, Englishman David Skinns and American JJ Spaun are in a tie for seventh following 66s.

Scottie Scheffler, Dustin JohnsonJordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama are among those who took 67 blows.

Newly married Johnson was as effusive as he ever gets.

"Feeling good," he said. "Way different than what it was before. Yeah, feeling great. I got a lot of golf coming up, so hopefully the game will kick into good form here at the right time."


This is Friday 13th and also Munoz's 13th first round lead in his career (PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour).

Unlucky? It has been. He's yet to convert a win (although he's never been more than two shots clear before).

What of the history of three-shot first round leads on the PGA Tour?

Of the last 50 players to be in that situation (stretching back to 1998), 12 have used the lap to set up the win.

But seven of the last 14 (all in the last five years) have lifted the trophy.

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