Sebastian Munoz fired six birdies in a four-under par 67 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead over American Brandon Hagy into the final round of the US PGA Tour John Deere Classic.
Colombia’s Munoz, who started the day one off the lead, had a 16-under par total of 197 at Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, where he’s in pursuit of a second PGA Tour title to go with his 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship crown.
He made early headway with birdies at the second and third before bogeys at the fourth and sixth, regaining momentum with a 21-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the par-four eighth.
“We could see on the leaderboard that people were going low, and you didn’t want to kind of fade into the leaderboard,” Munoz said. “So it was really important to birdie 11, 13 and 16 coming in.”
After rolling in a 15-foot putt to save par at the 10th, Munoz gave himself an 18-inch birdie putt at 11 to gain a share of the lead.
He took a one-shot lead with an 11-footer at the 13th.
Munoz stretched his lead with a six-foot birdie at 16, but Hagy pulled within one with the last of his five birdies of the day at the 17th.
Hagy, seeking his first tour title, had five birdies total in a four-under 67 for 198.
“I think I’m driving the ball well, hitting some approach shots pretty close,” Hagy said. “The last couple days I’ve made some putts, as well. So I think there’s little bits of each part of my game that have been going well, and I’m just looking to continue that.”
Five players shared third on 199 with another four on 200.
American Scott Brown grabbed his share of third place on 14-under with an eight-under par 63 that featured nine birdies.
“Drove it really well to start off with and then was able to hit the ball close with my irons and capitalize on the putting,” said Brown, who birdied six of seven holes from the ninth through the 15th.
He said he expected another low score would be needed to win on Sunday.
“I think you’re going to have to make a bunch of birdies again, especially if we get some more rain overnight, soften it up,” Brown said after a damp day at Deere Run. “You’re going to have to be in attack mode here.”
That’s why Munoz, who said he couldn’t help watching the scoreboard as he was overtaken for the early lead, was especially pleased to have regrouped and put himself back on top.
“It’s huge,” Munoz said. “Every shot counts, and having every extra one for tomorrow might help me out a lot.”
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