McKINNEY, Texas (KTRK) Much of the conversation surrounding the AT&T Byron Nelson centered on Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, and Will Zalatoris, three local golfers who honed their skills in the North Texas region and represent a new generation of Lone Star State golfers.
However, none of the aforementioned players presently hold the course record at TPC Craig Ranch, where the PGA Tour event is being held this week. In addition, none of the aforementioned players has ever shot several rounds of 60 or lower in a single season.
To be fair, no one had ever done the latter until Sebastian Munoz reminded the golf world on Thursday that the Dallas-Fort Worth golf scene is more than simply Spieth, Scheffler, and Willy Z.
Munoz, who played collegiately at the nearby University of North Texas and now resides in the DFW, shot his second 60 of the season on his route to a large clubhouse lead in Thursday’s opening round, thanks to a pair of eagles and a scorching putter.
Munoz had only one thought as he stood on the 18th fairway, preparing to go for his third eagle of the day on the long par-5 closing hole.
He said, “Fifty-nine.” “I wanted to give myself a shot.” I had 250 to the pin into the wind, I believe. I wanted to hit like a bullet, almost like a draw. I knew it had to be a fading, soft-landed shot if I wanted to hit it close, so I tried it. I went too far and got a 60, which is very good around here.”
It’s excellent. That was good enough to beat Sam Burns’ 62, which was the best tournament round since the event moved from Trinity Forest Golf Club to Craig Ranch last year. And the best the course has ever seen, edging out a 61 shot by Ryan Palmer on the Tom Weiskopf-designed course. Munoz hit his second shot way right of the green on 18, but he chipped to just inside a dozen feet and buried the putt, which was a frequent theme throughout the day. That gave him a scorching 28 on the back nine, and his 60 matched his score from the first round of the RSM Classic in November.
Since the calendar turned to 2022, something has clearly clicked with Munoz. He began this season (which begins in September) by missing three of his first eight cuts. In his last seven races, he’s finished in the top 40.
On Thursday, he revealed that a new partnership with caddie Jose Campra has allowed him to improve his game.
“I feel like we’ve had fantastic feelings ever since he got on the bag,” Munoz said of Campos. “We’re on the same page. We communicate in a way that allows us to see our shots and distances.
“I felt that that was extremely beneficial.” Apart from that, be a little more consistent. Trying to stay away from the extreme mood swings. That strikes me as enormous. And then we’ll see how things go.”
It went well in the first round, but Munoz has done it before. He shot a 66 in the first round here last year, using eagles on holes 9 and 12 to write a similar story. With rounds of 73 and 71 over the weekend, he fell back into the pack.
“Whenever everything clicks, it’s a terrific feeling,” Munoz added. “You’re shooting tee shots, and the ball appears to be going out of the window you envisioned… the putts, and that you’re reading them well. The pace.
“When things are going well, just keep out of the way and let things unfold.”
Munoz led reigning winner K.H. Lee, Mito Pereira, Justin Lower, and Peter Malnati by four strokes at the end of the first round. So, knowing he’d have a healthy lead, how would the Colombian native unwind?
By engaging in video game play. Apex Legends is a video game. Perhaps Call of Duty.
Do video games come as naturally as golf does these days?
He smiled and remarked, “I’m almost a 30-year-old guy trying to play video games.” “Today’s kids are fantastic.”