McKINNEY, Texas (AP) — Sebastián Muñoz will be the “other” local guy in the final double of Byron Nelson’s final round.
It’s cool the Colombian who now calls the Dallas area home and at least shared the lead after three rounds.
Muñoz was 6-under-66 on Saturday and was 21-under, one shot ahead of hometown favorite Jordan Spieth, who is still looking to advance in the event where he played the final round as a 16-year-old high schooler in 2010. Spieth was right. 64.
Joaquin Niemann will be the third player in the final group on Sunday, alone in third, another shot back after a 65. James Hahn nearly evened Muñoz in the opening round 60 at TPC Craig Ranch, hitting 61 to jump 34 points to a tie for fourth. with Justin Tomás (64).
Spieth is a year younger than Muñoz, at 28, but has three graduations out of 13 career wins after serving at the University of Texas. Muñoz, who played for college near North Texas, is two and a half years away from his only PGA Tour win.
“Aside from winning in Bogotá, Colombia, I’ve never been a favorite anywhere else,” said Muñoz. “So it’s a familiar place. Jordan is, of course, the golden boy here, so everyone’s favorite. I’m good friends with him, so it’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow.”
Spieth has never gone more than two holes without a birdie before a bogey at 15. He has had lower rounds and been close to victory before in a tournament he badly wants to win after such a remarkable debut on the PGA Tour as an amateur 12 years ago. .
Additionally, he and others in the world’s top 30 playing this week are preparing for the PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“So to have a chance to win this event, this is going to be the best chance I’ve ever had on Sunday,” said Spieth. “I did a good job without putting too much pressure on myself, I just wanted to get into the fray and obviously see what needs to be improved for next week. But there’s no better preparation for a major than winning the week before.”
Speith was ninth last season in his freshman year at TPC Craig Ranch, his best finish at Nelson.
Muñoz made a 39-foot birdie putt on the second hole of the par-4 and sunk a long bunker shot in the short par-4 sixth.
Playing with another Texan in Ryan Palmer, Muñoz had problems along with Palmer in the par-4 16th.
After Palmer shot straight into the stands, Muñoz went left throwing a shot from a bunker with the ball in the rough above his feet. He hit the ground with his putter after leaving a chip 30 feet away and ended up with his only bogey.
Palmer, two shots at the time after one stretch of five consecutive birdieshad to fall into some rough deep, needed two shots to get out and three shots to double-bogey.
A native of West Texas and a resident of the Dallas area seeking his first singles win since 2010, Palmer shot 70 and was 17 under defending champion KH Lee (67) and 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel (68).
Hahn missed the cut the last two times he played Nelson after finishing third in 2017, his final year at the TPC Four Seasons in another Dallas suburb, Irving.
The move to McKinney, about 30 miles north of downtown, came after Nelson was played twice in Trinity Forest south of Dallas, then canceled during the pandemic before another relocation.
Two-time PGA Tour winner, Hahn birdieted five of the last six holes on the front nine and started a 5-under four-hole stretch by hitting his second shot for 7 feet on par-5 12th.
“I feel like it was easy for me, but everybody is shooting, 9, 10 under, somebody is every day,” said Hahn, who has missed 10 cuts this season. “So I felt like, ‘Why not me?'”
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 at a 65 that left him at 16 under.
Dallas’ top-ranked player and resident birdie four of the last five holes in front and three in a row behind, but his bogey-free round ended with a disappointing par on the 18th achievable par 5.
“I didn’t really see the ball go in that much, which is frustrating because you have to make shots here to shoot low scores,” Scheffler said. “I fought my way back to the tournament, but I need a hot bat tomorrow if I want to make some noise.”
Davis Riley hit 64 and was tied with Scheffler and Beau Hossler (67).
A couple of the tour’s older rookies disappeared from contention with 2-over 74s. David Skinns, a 40-year-old Englishman, started the day tied for the lead with Muñoz and Palmer, and American Justin Lower, 33, who was just a shot back.