Thanks to a brilliant eight-under 63, Torque GC’s Sebastián Muñoz will take a three-shot lead entering Sunday’s final round of LIV Golf Chicago.
Now comes the difficult part – converting that lead into a victory at Rich Harvest Farms.
That’s been an issue for the 30-year-old from Colombia, whose best individual finish since joining LIV Golf this season was a second place in Orlando.
“I don’t want to take care of the lead because I don’t have good experiences with that in the past,” said Muñoz, whose last professional win came in 2019. “It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be challenging, especially me talking about it now. But I’m going to do what I’ve been doing.”
One of five co-leaders after the first round, Muñoz opened his second round Saturday with three birdies before holing his second shot at the par-four 5th hole from 123 yards for eagle. It was the first of two eagles in his round, the other coming at the par-five 10th.
The 63 left him at 13 under, three shots ahead of Crushers GC’s Anirban Lahiri, who shot his second consecutive 66 to move to 10 under. Three players – 4Aces GC Captain Dustin Johnson, Fireballs GC’s Abraham Ancer and RangeGoats GC’s Thomas Pieters – are five strokes back at eight under.
Dean Burmester and Louis Oosthuizen, of the South African Stinger GC team, are both on six under (T9) after rounds of 69 and 70 respectively.
Fuelled by Muñoz’s low round, Torque moved into a tie for the team lead at 22 under, with David Puig (68) and Mito Pereira (70) also supplying counting scores. The Fireballs also are at 22 under after counting scores from Ancer, Carlos Ortiz (68) and Eugenio Chacarra (69). The Aces and Crushers share third at 18 under.
Torque will be seeking its fifth team victory of the season. If that happens and the Aces finish no better than third, then Torque will assume the lead in the season-long team standings.
Meanwhile, Muñoz will seek to deliver the team’s first individual trophy. “It’s time for an individual win for us,” he said.
From Lahiri’s perspective, it’s also time for him to end his individual drought. His last professional win was in February 2015 when he won twice that month.
He’s been close to ending the drought since joining LIV Golf last year, finishing second in Boston in his debut event, and adding two more runner-up finishes this season – three shots behind Talor Gooch in Adelaide and seven strokes behind Cameron Smith last month in Bedminster.
“I’ve had a few too many seconds,” said Lahiri, who opened with an eagle Saturday en route to a bogey-free round. “I can’t control what Sebastián or anyone else does, so I’m just going to focus on my process and what I’m trying to do on the golf course.”
Of the top five players on the leaderboard, three still have a chance to finish the season-long individual race inside the bonus-paying top three. Johnson, the defending individual champion, is currently eighth in points, while Muñoz is 12th and Lahiri 15th.
Based on the second-round leaderboard, Muñoz is projected to move into third place.
Four rounds are left in the regular season – Sunday’s final round in Chicago and next month’s LIV Golf Jeddah, which will be followed by the Team Championship in Miami.