SUGAR GROVE, Illinois: Thanks to a brilliant 8-under 63, Torque GC’s Sebastian Muñoz will take a three-shot lead entering Sunday’s final round of LIV Golf Chicago.
Now comes the difficult part — converting that lead into a victory at Rich Harvest Farms.
That’s been an issue for the 30-year-old from Colombia, whose best individual finish since joining LIV Golf this season was a second place in Orlando.
“I don’t want to take care of the lead because I don’t have good experiences with that in the past,” said Muñoz, whose last professional win came in 2019.
“… It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be challenging, especially me talking about it now. But I’m going to do what I’ve been doing.”
One of five co-leaders after the first round, Muñoz opened his second round Saturday with three birdies before holing his second shot at the par-4 fifth hole from 123 yards for eagle.
It was the first of two eagles in his round, the other coming at the par-5 10th.
The 63 left him at 13 under, three shots ahead of Crushers GC’s Anirban Lahiri, who shot his second consecutive 66 to move to 10 under.
Three players – 4Aces GC captain Dustin Johnson, Fireballs GC’s Abraham Ancer and RangeGoats GC’s Thomas Pieters – are five strokes back at 8 under.
Fueled by Muñoz’s low round, Torque moved into a tie for the team lead at 22 under, with David Puig (68) and Mito Pereira (70) also supplying counting scores.
The Fireballs also are at 22 under after counting scores from Ancer, Carlos Ortiz (68) and Eugenio Chacarra (69). The Aces and Crushers share third at 18 under.
Torque will be seeking their fifth team victory of the season. If that happens and the Aces finish no better than third, then Torque will assume the lead in the season-long team standings.
Meanwhile, Muñoz will seek to deliver the team’s first individual trophy. “It’s time for an individual win for us,” he said.
From Lahiri’s perspective, it’s also time for him to end his individual drought. His last professional win was in February 2015 when he won twice that month.
He’s been close to ending the drought since joining LIV Golf last year, finishing second in Boston in his debut event, and adding two more runner-up finishes this season — three shots behind Talor Gooch in Adelaide and seven strokes behind Cameron Smith last month in Bedminster.
“I’ve had a few too many seconds,” said Lahiri, who opened with an eagle Saturday en route to a bogey-free round.
“… I can’t control what Sebastian or anyone else does, so I’m just going to focus on my process and what I’m trying to do on the golf course.”
Of the top five players on the leaderboard, three still have a chance to finish the season-long individual race inside the bonus-paying top three.
Johnson, the defending individual champion, is currently eighth in points, while Muñoz is 12th and Lahiri 15th.
Based on the second-round leaderboard, Muñoz is projected to move into third place.
Four rounds are left in the regular season — Sunday’s final round in Chicago and next month’s LIV Golf Jeddah, which will be followed by the Team Championship in Miami.
TEAM COUNTING SCORES
Here are the standings and counting scores for Saturday’s second round of the team competition at LIV Golf Chicago. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.
T1. TORQUE GC (-22): Sebastian Muñoz 63, David Puig 68, Mito Pereira 70 (Rd. 2 score: -12)
T1. FIREBALLS GC (-22): Abraham Ancer 66, Carlos Ortiz 68, Eugenio Chacarra 69 (Rd. 2 score: -10)
T3. 4ACES GC (-18): Dustin Johnson 66, Peter Uihlein 69, Pat Perez 70 (Rd. 2 score: -8)
T3. CRUSHERS GC (-18): Anirban Lahiri 66, Bryson DeChambeau 69, Paul Casey 72 (Rd. 2 score: -6)
5. RANGEGOATS GC (-17): Talor Gooch 67, Thomas Pieters 67, Harold Varner III 71 (Rd. 2 score: -8)
T6. MAJESTICKS GC (-16): Ian Poulter 67, Henrik Stenson 67, Lee Westwood 69 (Rd. 2 score: -10)
T6. STINGER GC (-16): Dean Burmester 69, Louis Oosthuizen 70, Charl Schwartzel 71 (Rd. 2 score: -3)
8. RIPPER GC (-15): Marc Leishman 68, Matt Jones 70, Cameron Smith 71 (Rd. 2 score: -4)
9. SMASH GC (-11): Brooks Koepka 69, Jason Kokrak 71, Chase Koepka 72 (Rd. 2 score: -1)
T10. CLEEKS GC (-10): Richard Bland 66, Martin Kaymer 69, Graeme McDowell 69 (Rd. 2 score: -9)
T10. HYFLYERS GC (-10): Phil Mickelson 68, Brendan Steele 68, James Piot 69 (Rd. 2 score: -8)
12. IRON HEADS GC (-4): Scott Vincent 69, Kevin Na 70, Sihwan Kim 73 (Rd. 2 score: -1)