WASHINGTON: Sebastian Muñoz, his sights on a first US PGA Tour title, stretched his lead at the Greenbrier Classic to three shots on Friday (Saturday in Manila) with a second-round 67.
Muñoz couldn’t match his stellar 61 of Thursday, but he sorted out some early troubles off the tee to counter two bogeys with five birdies as he moved to 12-under 128 for the tournament.
“I think it was a good round,” the 24-year-old Colombian said. “I missed more fairways than yesterday, I was out of position more. So it just took a little more effort to get those birdies, to have easy par putts.
“Today I made a lot of clutch putts to keep the momentum going.”
American Hudson Swafford had four birdies in a four-under 66 to join Ben Martin (67) in second place on 131.
Swafford is looking for a second title of the season after claiming his first career victory at La Quinta, California, in January.
Russell Henley had seven birdies in a six-under 64 to join a trio on 132 that also included 53-year-old Davis Love and New Zealand’s Danny Lee.
Love, who trailed Muñoz by two after the first round, carded a 69. Lee, who claimed his lone PGA Tour title to date in the 2015 Greenbrier Classic, carded a 68.
Lee is the defending champion this week, after deadly floods in the region forced last year’s tournament to be cancelled.
Muñoz teed off on 10 on the Old White TPC course at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and had four birdies in his first seven holes.
After bogeys at three and six, he added another birdie at the par-three seventh and said he had solved a problem with his tempo that affected his accuracy early in the round.
“I feel great,” he said. “I feel like my putting’s good, my chipping’s good. My driver, I think I solved it — so, excited.”
Muñoz held a share of the halfway lead at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis last month, but faded at the weekend to finish tied for 60th.
“I feel like Memphis taught me that maybe I was caring too much, trying to hit too many perfect shots all the
time,” Munoz said, adding that he’d use that experience this week.
Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number at one-under par.
Making his first start since parting with longtime caddie Jim Mackay, Mickelson, with his brother Tim on his bag, had five bogeys and three birdies in a two-over 72.
He made the cut for the first time at the Greenbrier despite what he called “probably the two worst putting days I’ve had this year”.
Those making the cut also included Chilean amateur Joaquin Niemann, who posted his second straight 68 for a share of 22nd place.