Sebastián Muñoz will be the “other” local guy in the final pairing of the final round of the Byron Nelson.
It’s cool by the Colombian who now calls the Dallas area home and has at least shared the lead after all three rounds.
Muñoz shot a 6-under-par 66 on Saturday and was 21 under, a stroke ahead of hometown favorite Jordan Spieth, who is still seeking a breakthrough at the event in which he contended in the final round as a 16-year-old high schooler in 2010. Spieth shot a 64.
Joaquin Niemann will be the third player in the final group Sunday, alone in third another shot back after a 65. James Hahn almost matched Muñoz’s opening-round 60 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, shooting 61 to jump 34 spots to a tie for fourth with Justin Thomas (64).
Spieth is a year younger than Muñoz at 28 but has three majors among 13 career victories after starring at the University of Texas. Muñoz, who played in college nearby at North Texas, is 2½ years removed from his lone PGA Tour win.
“Besides winning in Bogota, Colombia, I’ve never been the favorite of any other place,” Muñoz said. “So it’s a familiar spot. Jordan is, of course, the golden boy here, so [he’s] everyone’s favorite. I’m good friends with him, so it’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow.”
Spieth never went more than two holes without a birdie before a bogey at 15. He’s had lower rounds and been close to victory before in a tournament he wants to win badly after such a remarkable PGA Tour debut as an amateur 12 years ago.
Besides, he and others among the top 30 in the world playing this week are getting ready for the PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.
“So having a chance to win this event, this will be kind of the best chance I’ve maybe ever had going into Sunday,” Spieth said. “Done a good job not putting too much pressure on myself, I just wanted to get into contention and obviously see what needs to be sharpened for next week. But there’s no better prep for a major than winning the week before.”
Speith was ninth last season in the first year at TPC Craig Ranch, his best Nelson finish.
Muñoz made a 39-foot birdie putt on the par-4 second hole and sank a long bunker shot on the short par-4 sixth.
Playing with another Texan in Ryan Palmer, Muñoz ran into trouble along with Palmer on the par-4 16th.
After Palmer sprayed his approach way right into the stands, Muñoz went left playing a shot from a bunker with the ball in the rough above his feet. He swiped the ground with his club after leaving a chip 30 feet away and ended up with his only bogey.
Palmer, two shots back at the time after a stretch of five consecutive birdies, had to drop in some deep rough, needed two shots to get out, and three-putted for double-bogey.
A West Texas native and Dallas-area resident seeking his first individual victory since 2010, Palmer shot 70 and was 17 under with defending champion K.H. Lee (67) and 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel (68).
Spieth briefly pulled even with Munoz at 18 under with five birdies in six holes before the Colombian hit his approaches on 9 and 10 within 5 feet for birdies that put him back in front to stay.
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 in a 65 that left him at 16 under.
The top-ranked player and Dallas resident birdied four of the last five holes on the front and three in a row on the back, but his bogey-free round ended with a disappointing par on the reachable par-5 18th.
Davis Riley shot 64 and was tied with Scheffler and Beau Hossler (67).
A pair of older tour rookies faded from contention with 2-over 74s. David Skinns, a 40-year-old from England started the day tied for the lead with Muñoz and Palmer, and 33-year-old American Justin Lower, who was just a shot back.
LPGA — Minjee Lee had an eagle-birdie run on the back nine and took a one-shot lead over Madelene Sagstrom, heading into the final round of the Cognizant Founders Cup.
Lee, the LPGA Tour’s leading scoring this year, shot a 3-under 69 on a day Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, N.J., showed some teeth with the wind picking up early and rain falling on the leaders for the final 11 holes.
The 25-year-old Australian who had a three-shot lead at the halfway point, was at 17-under 199 after 54 holes. She’s looking for her first win of the year and seventh on tour.
Sagstrom, the 29-year-old Swede who is seeking her second tour win, followed up an opening-round 63 with a 67, the best third-round score.
Lexi Thomson started the round tied with Sagstrom at 11 under, and was alone in third, three shots back after a 69.
Champions — Steve Stricker took a three-stroke lead over Steven Alker into the final round of the Regions Tradition, birdieing the final hole for a 6-under 66.
Playing his third straight tournament after a six-month hiatus for health reasons, Stricker was at 17-under 199 as he seeks his second win in the past three tries in the PGA Tour Champions major at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. He had three straight birdies from holes 13-15 after his lone bogey and polished off the round with a fourth.
Stricker is seeking his fourth major championship on the 50-and-over circuit.
Alker birdied the final two holes for a 65. A two-time winner this year already, the Charles Schwab Cup points leader is chasing his first major championship.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 2018 winner, had a 67 to get to 12 under. He finished with a birdie and is also seeking his third win of the year.
Stuart Appleby and Padraig Harrington were 11 under.
European — Ryan Fox birdied the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Soudal Open in Antwerp, Belgium.
The New Zealander bogeyed early in his third round at Rinkven International to slip further off the pace, but birdied his next hole, and reeled off five more coming home in a 5-under 66.
Fox won his second European Tour title in February in the United Arab Emirates, and has two top-10s this month.
Fox was at 11 under overall, one shot ahead of Horsfield, the coleader in the first two rounds.
The English golfer was one off the lead after a bogey on the ninth, then two in front after a birdie on the 11th. But he parred the rest of the way for a second straight 69.
Germany’s Yannik Paul, seeking his first Tour win, had sole possession of third at 9 under after a birdie-birdie finish for a 68.