JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Sebastian Munoz and Carlos Ortiz both went to North Texas, live in the Dallas area and have played plenty of practice rounds together.
The next occasion will have a lot more at stake.
Munoz made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to take the lead and saved par with a 7-foot putt at the end of his third round Saturday for a 9-under 63, giving him a one-shot lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship and a chance to give South America back-to-back winners on the PGA Tour.
Munoz, a 26-year-old from Colombia, had four birdies in the opening five holes at the Country Club of Jackson, and kept near the lead the rest of the way with Ortiz, the 28-year-old from Mexico.
“Hitting the ball great and putting really good,” Munoz said. “Just great momentum. You realize all the good that has happened, so you keep going.”
Munoz was at 16-under 200.
Joaquin Niemann last week at the Greenbrier became the first player from Chile to win on the PGA Tour. Munoz will try to become the first Colombian to win on the tour since Camilo Villegas.
Ortiz got into the hunt by holing a bunker shot for birdie to start the back nine, and then holing an 18-foot eagle putt on the par-5 11th. He added a pair of birdies the rest of the way for a 65, giving him a great chance for his first PGA Tour victory.
“The whole goal from the beginning of the week was to have a chance to win tomorrow,” Ortiz said. “You cannot win the tournament the first three days, but you can get yourself out of it. I think I’ve done a great job to keep myself in the tournament. Ready to go for tomorrow.”
The top four players are going for their first PGA Tour victory.
That includes Byeong Hun An, the former U.S. Amateur champion who had a two-shot lead to start the third round and shot 70. Cameron Percy of Australia, who had to play 25 holes Saturday because of weather delays in the opening round, had a 68 and was three shots back.
Munoz and Ortiz played the third round with Harris English, and it was a comfortable group for the two Latin Americans.
“He’s a great friend,” Ortiz said. “We’ve been pretty close the last four years. We were good friends in college. Just fun when you can play with guys who get along, and especially when you’re both playing really good.”
An looked like he might crash the party when he ran off three straight birdies on the back nine and tied Munoz for the lead at 16 under. But he missed the fairway badly to the left on the 16th and had to pitch back to the fairway, leading to bogey. On the next hole, from just over 20 feet on the fringe, he gunned his birdie attempt some 8 feet by the hole and missed that, falling another shot behind.
An has three victories in his pro career on the Challenge Tour, Korean PGA and the European Tour, where he won the flagship event at the BMW PGA Championship in 2015.
“I still have a chance to win. I’m only two shots back,” An said. “Like I said, not even bad day, but wasn’t as good as the first few days. That’s really positive. I didn’t really collapse or anything. Just made some bogeys there, and I did make some good shots today. I’ll just take all the positives and go into tomorrow.”
Nine players were separated by four shots, a group that includes Wyndham Championship winner J.T. Poston and Sungjae Im, the South Korean voted PGA Tour rookie of the year and still looking for his first PGA Tour victory.
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