Saturday's golf: Muñoz keeps Byron Nelson lead with local star Spieth 1 back
McKinney, Texas — Sebastián Muñoz will be the “other” local guy in the final pairing of the final round of the Byron Nelson.
It's cool by the Colombian who now calls the Dallas area home and has at least shared the lead after all three rounds.
Muñoz shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday and was 21 under, a stroke ahead of hometown favorite Jordan Spieth, who is still seeking a breakthrough at the event in which he contended in the final round as a 16-year-old high schooler in 2010. Spieth shot a 64.
Joaquin Niemann will be the third player in the final group Sunday, alone in third another shot back after a 65. James Hahn almost matched Muñoz's opening-round 60 at TPC Craig Ranch, shooting 61 to jump 34 spots to a tie for fourth with Justin Thomas (64).
Spieth is a year younger than Muñoz at 28 but has three majors among 13 career victories after starring at the University of Texas. Muñoz, who played in college nearby at North Texas, is 2 1/2 years removed from his lone PGA Tour win.
Spieth never went more than two holes without a birdie before a bogey at 15. He's had lower rounds and been close to victory before in a tournament he wants to win badly after such a remarkable PGA Tour debut as an amateur 12 years ago.
Besides, he and others among the top 30 in the world playing this week are getting ready for the PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Speith was ninth last season in the first year at TPC Craig Ranch, his best Nelson finish.
Muñoz made a 39-foot birdie putt on the par-4 second hole and sank a long bunker shot on the short par-4 sixth.
Playing with another Texan in Ryan Palmer, Muñoz ran into trouble along with Palmer on the par-4 16th.
After Palmer sprayed his approach way right into the stands, Muñoz went left playing a shot from a bunker with the ball in the rough above his feet. He swiped the ground with his club after leaving a chip 30 feet away and ended up with his only bogey.
Palmer, two shots back at the time after a stretch of five consecutive birdies, had to drop in some deep rough, needed two shots to get out and three-putted for double-bogey.
A West Texas native and Dallas-area resident seeking his first individual victory since 2010, Palmer shot 70 and was 17 under with defending champion K.H. Lee (67) and 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel (68).
Spieth briefly pulled even with Munoz at 18 under with five birdies in six holes before the Colombian hit his approaches on 9 and 10 within 5 feet for birdies that put him back in front to stay.
Hahn missed the cut the past two times he played the Nelson after finishing third in 2017, the last year at the TPC Four Seasons in another Dallas suburb, Irving.
The move to McKinney, about 30 miles north of downtown, came after the Nelson was played twice at Trinity Forest in southern Dallas, then canceled during the pandemic before another relocation.
A two-time PGA Tour winner, Hahn birdied five of the last six holes on the front nine and started a 5-under stretch over four holes by hitting his second shot to 7 feet on the par-5 12th.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who overcame a triple-bogey early in the second round for an outside shot to make a Sunday run, recorded birdies in bunches in a 65 that left him at 16 under.
The top-ranked player and Dallas resident birdied four of the last five holes on the front and three in a row on the back, but his bogey-free round ended with a disappointing par on the reachable par-5 18th.
Davis Riley shot 64 and was tied with Scheffler and Beau Hossler (67).
A pair of older tour rookies faded from contention with 2-over 74s. David Skinns, a 40-year-old from England started the day tied for the lead with Muñoz and Palmer, and 33-year-old American Justin Lower, who was just a shot back.
Clifton, N.J. — Minjee Lee had an eagle-birdie run on the back nine and took a one-shot lead over Madelene Sagstrom on Saturday, heading into the final round of the Cognizant Founders Cup.
Lee, the LPGA Tour’s leading scoring this year, shot a 3-under 69 on a day Upper Montclair Country Club showed some teeth with the wind picking up early and rain falling on the leaders for the final 11 holes.
The 25-year-old Australian who had a three-shot lead at the halfway point, was at 17-under 199 after 54 holes. She's looking for her first win of the year and seventh on tour.
Sagstrom, the Swede who had the first-round lead after a 63, had the best third-round with a 67. The 29-year-old is seeking her second win.
Lexi Thompson started the round tied with Sagstrom at 11 under, and was alone in third, three shots back after a 69. She might have been closer to her first win since 2019 but she just missed at least five or six putts.
Well, it was probably more of an issue just trying to get my putts to the hole. I left a few short just dead center. It was hard because the greens have been so fast. They still are and they’re rolling so pure.
But just with the a little bit of moisture on them they’re definitely a little slower, but into the greens they actually skid out a little bit more, so it’s finding that balance.
“The weather was a big factor, it got quite wet on the greens,” said Sagstrom, who briefly moved into a tie for the lead with a birdie at the par-5 12th as Lee bogeyed No. 11 after an errant tee shot.
Lee followed with the eagle and birdie on putts ranging from 15-to-18 feet and never lost the lead.
Angel Yin shot a 68 and moved into fourth place at 11 under.
Ally Ewing, who was tied for second after two rounds, never got anything going in posting a 74. She was tied for fifth at 9 under with Paula Reto of South Africa and Megan Khang.
Nasa Hataoka of Japan, who won in Los Angeles last month, was in a group nine shots off the lead. Jennifer Kupcho, the winner at Mission Hills in the first major of the season, also was 8 under.
Two-time defending champion and No. 1 ranked Jin Young Ko of South Korea was far back at 5 under.
Anna Davis, the 16-year-old lefty who won the recent Augusta National Women’s Amateur, remained at 4 under after shooting par.
PGA Champions Tour
Birmingham, Ala. — Steve Stricker took a three-stroke lead over Steven Alker into the final round of the Regions Tradition, birdieing the final hole Saturday for a 6-under 66.
Playing his third straight tournament after a six-month hiatus for health reasons, Stricker was at 17-under 199 as he seeks his second win in the past three tries in the PGA Tour Champions major at Greystone Golf & Country Club. He had three straight birdies from holes 13-15 after his lone bogey and polished off the round with a fourth.
Stricker is seeking his fourth major championship on the 50-and-over circuit.
Alker birdied the final two holes for a 65. A two-time winner this year already, the Charles Schwab Cup points leader is chasing his first major championship.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 2018 winner, had a 67 to get to 12 under. He finished the round with a birdie and is also seeking his third win of the year.
Stuart Appleby and Padraig Harrington were 11 under.
Appleby had a bogey-free 68, and has hovered at 68 or 69 each day. Harrington had a more adventurous round and closed his 70 with an eagle on the par-5 18th. He had bogeys on two of the first six holes.
Stricker powered his approach shot off the grandstand on 18, taking advantage of the rebound well back onto the green. He lost a one-hole playoff to Alex Cejka last year on the Founder’s Course.
Cejka was disqualified after a 66 Saturday for using a yardage book that had not been approved for the competition by the PGA Tour Champions Rules Committee.
Glen Day (67) and Ernie Els (70) were seven shots back. Els eagled the par-5 13th to help rebound from an opening seven holes that included four bogeys.
Harrington and Scott McCarron were two shots behind Stricker entering Saturday, and both fell back. McCarron followed up his round of 65 with a 77.