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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 22, 2019 1:00 am

Friends in contention at PGA tournament

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. – Sebastian Munoz and Carlos Ortiz both went to North Texas, live in the Dallas area and have played plenty of rounds together.

The next occasion will have a lot more at stake.

Munoz made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to take the lead and saved par with a 7-foot putt at the end of his third round Saturday for a 9-under 63, giving him a one-shot lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship and a chance to give South America back-to-back winners on the PGA Tour.

Munoz, a 26-year-old from Colombia, had four birdies in the opening five holes at the Country Club of Jackson, and kept near the lead the rest of the way with Ortiz, the 28-year-old from Mexico.

“Hitting the ball great and putting really good,” Munoz said. “Just great momentum. You realize all the good that has happened, so you keep going.”

Munoz was at 16-under 200.

Ortiz got into the hunt by holing a bunker shot for birdie to start the back nine, and then holing an 18-foot eagle putt on the par-5 11th. He added a pair of birdies the rest of the way for a 65, giving him a great chance for his first PGA Tour victory.

“The whole goal from the beginning of the week was to have a chance to win tomorrow,” Ortiz said. “You cannot win the tournament the first three days, but you can get yourself out of it. I think I've done a great job to keep myself in the tournament. Ready to go for tomorrow.”

The top four players are going for their first PGA Tour victory.

That includes Byeong Hun An, the former U.S. Amateur champion who had a two-shot lead to start the third round and shot 70.

Cameron Percy of Australia, who had to play 25 holes Saturday because of weather delays in the opening round, had a 68 and was three shots back.

Munoz and Ortiz played the third round with Harris English, and it was a comfortable group for the two Latin Americans.

“He's a great friend,” Ortiz said. “We've been pretty close the last four years.”