Munoz remains 'Top Gun' at The Greenbrier Classic
July 08, 2017
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Sebastian Munoz keeps the lead and momentum going at The Greenbrier
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Notes and observations from Saturday’s third round of the Greenbrier Classic where Sebastian Munoz set himself up for his first PGA TOUR win with a steady 2-under 68.
The Colombian sits 14-under and leads by two over Robert Streb (65) at 12 under.
Rookie Xander Schauffele (66) and former prodigy Jamie Lovemark (66) will also try to chase down a maiden PGA TOUR win from three back at 11-under.
MUNOZ MOVIE NIGHTS
Sebastian Munoz has turned off his phone and retreated to his room for 1980s movie nights as he tries to stem the nerves during his battle for a maiden PGA TOUR win at the Greenbrier Classic.
The 23-year-old Colombian, who prior to this week had finished no higher than T27 on the TOUR and ranks 198th on the FedExCup, has led through all three rounds at the Old White TPC.
His two-shot buffer over Robert Streb in his first 54-hole lead on TOUR and represents the chance to significantly change his life bringing with it significant nerves.
Knowing his phone would be blowing up with well wishes and social media notifications he simply turned it off.
“I am going to try to do the same thing. I've had my phone off since Thursday. We're going to keep it that way,” he smiled as he explained how he kept a calm demeanor.
After Thursday’s hot start Munoz retreated to his room to watch 1980s classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and after another good effort Friday kept the theme going by watching Rainman.
Slightly superstitious he will once again find an 80s classic and is considering Top Gun for his Saturday night flick.
As for tomorrow’s final round? He hopes keeping a simple game plan will allow him to continue on to victory.
“I’ll try to play boring golf. I try to hit the fairway and hit the greens,” he said.
“I’ll try to keep it steady, but you just take what you can get.”
And he will try to continue to make putts.
Munoz leads the field in Strokes Gained: Putting at an incredible 9.181 through three rounds making 396’1” worth of putts.
STREB SADDLES UP FOR REVENGE
Two years ago Robert Streb had the chance to win the Greenbrier Classic, joining a four-man playoff for the title.
Just getting there had been an impressive effort given he broke his putter at the turn on Sunday and putted with a wedge on the back nine that yielded five birdies.
Ultimately, he was unable to get the win but the 2015 McGladrey Classic champion has the chance for revenge this week, starting Sunday just two back in second place.
It’s a timely performance as he currently ranks 137th in the FedExCup.
“I’m trying to put that aside and trying to just focus on winning here and see if we can play well,” Streb said.
“Hopefully the points will take care of themselves.”
Streb’s Saturday effort was highlighted by a brilliant hybrid out of the rough on the par-5 12th hole from 232-yards that almost went in the hole. The resulting eagle and round of 65 has him in great shape.
“Maybe I left a couple out there coming in, but hopefully have a chance tomorrow,” he said.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Robert Streb's masterful approach is the Shot of the Day
ROOKIE XANDER READY TO ATTACK
When Xander Schauffele nabbed a top-5 finish in just his second PGA TOUR event in the fall last year he was already liking his chances of a trip to the FedExCup Playoffs.
With four made cuts out of the blocks in his rookie year the confidence was starting to certainly build.
But then six missed cuts in the next eight starts followed and by the time he headed to the U.S. Open last month he had faded to 135th on the FedExCup list and was in danger of losing his card.
The 23-year-old then surprised plenty by contending at Erin Hills, finishing in a tie for fifth, catapulting him back into the high confidence realm once more.
Decent efforts at the Travelers Championship (T14) and the Quicken Loans National (T35) have moved him to 94th on the FedExCup list entering the Greenbrier Classic, virtually securing a Playoff berth.
“Knowing that I have a job virtually taken care of for next year is a huge relief,” he said.
“It frees me up to maybe go at a few more pins tomorrow. Really get aggressive at times and push for a win.
“You can only do as much as you can with the swing and with putts. But if I can kind if keep this attitude, never know what can happen.
“I don't really know what's going to go on with by body and how my mind works, but hopefully I can prepare for it properly.”
CALL OF THE DAY
LOVE CHASES HISTORY
Davis Love III will attempt to create history on Sunday as he looks to become the oldest winner on the PGA TOUR.
A Life Member on the TOUR based on a minimum of 20 victories (21), Love III carded a third-round 2-under 68 and will enter the final round at T5, four strokes behind.
A victory Sunday would come in Love’s 741st official PGA TOUR start at the age of 53 years, 2 months and 26 days breaking Sam Snead’s record of 52 years, 10 months and 8 days at the 1965 Wyndham Championship.
Love would also set a record for most years between first and last victory on the TOUR (30 years, two months and 20 days since his first win at the 1987 RBC Heritage).
“I don't think much about age. I think I want to get out and compete. There is a reason why I keep having surgery and coming back and doing the rehab and trying to play,” he said.
“I think I can play out here. I watch Vijay (Singh) go out there and pound balls and keep having a good finish here and there, keep making the FedExCup 125. I want to keep doing that. I want to keep staying out here and competing.
“I’m just trying to hang in there. I feel like if I can make some putts I can still compete with them.”
ODDS AND ENDS
Jamie Lovemark (T3), in search of his first victory in his 113th PGA TOUR start, owns runner-up finishes at the 2009 Safeway Open and 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The former prodigy admits there will be nerves but he’s excited about the prospect of a breakthrough win.
“I think everyone feels more comfortable as time goes on. I'm 29; I'm getting kind of old. So hopefully get one of these someday soon,” he said.
“Everyone is more nervous on Sunday. That's fine. That's why we play. Not a huge deal. Just got to take it slow and give myself a lot of decent looks and don't be too aggressive going into the greens.”
Defending champion Danny Lee (64-68-70) sits six back in a tie for 8th.
After making the cut on the number (his first made cut in four tries at The Old White TPC), Phil Mickelson posted a 1-over 71 Saturday to fall to T61.
Opening this week with rounds of 69-67, Greenbrier resident Bubba Watson (T67) struggled to a 5-over 75 Saturday, his first-over par score in 15 rounds at The Greenbrier Classic.
Smylie Kaufman (T54) has a current streak of 258 consecutive holes without a three-putt.
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Munoz needs just 9 more feet of putts in his final two holes to get to 400 feet of putts made this week😳😳😳 #isthatgood— Teryn Schaefer (@TerynS_PGATOUR) July 8, 2017