Munoz takes Zozo lead after 2 eagles, 8 birdies


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Sebastian Munoz twice holed out for eagle from a combined distance of 219 yards. He also had eight birdies.

Throw in a wild tee shot for double bogey, three bogeys and only five pars and it added up to an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead on Thursday in the Zozo Championship at Sherwood.

“Not a normal round,” Munoz said.

Munoz, a Colombian competitor who played his college golf at North Texas, finished off his bizarre round by saving par from a narrow section of the front bunker with a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole.

He was one shot ahead of Tyrrell Hatton, the hottest golfer this month, and Justin Thomas, who had a hot finish. Hatton won the European Tour flagship event at Wentworth, flew to Las Vegas for the CJ Cup and tied for third. Thomas shot 29 on the back nine at Sherwood. They each had a 65.

Munoz’s round began with a three-putt bogey from 7 feet. He followed with four birdies on the next five holes — he missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fifth — and then he hammered a 9-iron from 168 yards that faded gently toward the hole and rolled in for an eagle.

“Once you see the guy throw up the touchdown sign, it’s good,” Munoz said of a volunteer behind the green.

His other eagle looked like it might be a bogey. He hit 3-wood that crashed into a tree near the 16th green, and Munoz was waiting for it to splash down in the creek. Instead, it went backward into the fairway, 51 yards from the hole.

“My caddie was like, ‘Be aggressive. You already took a risk on shot No. 2, so might as well just keep going.’ All right, sure,” he said. “So I throw it up there and find the hole. It was pretty sweet.”

Roughly half the 78-man field shot in the 60s on a pleasant day in the Conejo Valley.

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson were among the other half.

Woods, for the first time in his 1,277 rounds on the PGA Tour as a pro, made bogey or worse on three par 5s in a single round. That led to a 4-over 76 — by two shots his worst score in 49 rounds at Sherwood Country Club — that left him 12 shots out of the lead and in no mood to talk.

McIlroy sandwiched two double bogeys around two birdies at the end of his round of 73. Mickelson, a winner last week on the 50-and-older circuit, needed four birdies on his last eight holes to shoot 72.

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