Sebastian Munoz Wins First PGA Tour Title at the Sanderson Farms Championship

It’s a hard-earned first for Sebastian Munoz…

The 26-year-old Colombian professional golfer made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff, and then beat Sungjae Im with a par on the first extra hole to win the Sanderson Farms Championship for his first PGA Tour victory.

Sebastian Munoz

Munoz, who closed with a 2-under 70, made it two straight weeks for South American winners, following Joaquin Niemann‘s victory last week at the Greenbrier.

“Jaco’s win gave me the belief I needed, the little extra belief I’m good enough, I’m here,” Munoz said.

Niemann won by 6 shots at the Greenbrier. Munoz had it far more difficult.

He was among four players in the mix over the back nine at the Country Club of Jackson, and it looked as though Im would snatch his first victory when he made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th, got up and down from a bunker on the reachable 15th for birdie, and made it three straight birdies with a 12-foot putt on 16.

He closed with a 66, and that looked like it might be enough.

Byeong Hun An made consecutive bogeys to fall out of the mix. Carlos Ortiz couldn’t get a putt to fall.

Munoz lost two good scoring opportunities by hitting his drive well right of the fairway on the 14th, and then flubbing a lob shot left of the 15th green that went into the bunker, leading to bogey. Down to his last hole, he played it to perfection with a big drive, an approach to 15 feet below the hole and the most important putt of his young career.

The Bogota native, who played his college golf at the University of North Texas, poured in the birdie putt to join Im at 18-under 270.

“We just decided on a line, kept it as simple as can and just strike the putt,” Munoz said.

The playoff on the 18th hole wasn’t as clean.

Im went left into the Bermuda rough and caught a flier, sending the ball well over the green against the grandstand. Munoz was in the right rough and, expecting the ball to come out hot, he abbreviated his swing and it came out some 30 yards short. His chip-and-run rolled out to just under 4 feet. Im did well to pitch out of rough to just over 6 feet by the hole, but his par putt didn’t even touch the cup and he started walking soon after he hit it.

Munoz rolled in the par putt and the celebration was on.

“I’m speechless,” he said.

This is the first time since the tournament began in 1986 that it was not held the same week as another PGA Tour event with a stronger field. That means it gets full FedEx Cup points, and Munoz earned a spot in the Masters for the first time.

The playoff ended a streak of 38 consecutive PGA Tour events that were decided in regulation, dating to Charles Howell III winning in a playoff at Sea Island at the end of last year.

Joaquin Niemann Becomes First Player from Chile to Win a PGA Tour Title

Joaquin Niemann is making history on the PGA Tour

The 20-year-old Chilean professional golfer hasbecame the first player from Chile to win on the PGA Tour after shooting a 6-under 64 on Sunday for a six-stroke victory in A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.

Joaquin Niemann

Niemann entered the final round of the season opener with a two-stroke lead and held off challenges from Tom Hoge and Richy Werenski. Niemann birdied the final three holes to finish at 21-under 259 at Old White TPC, which has quickly become one of his favorite venues.

“I just never thought this moment was possible,” Niemann said. “I can’t wait to go back home and celebrate with all of my friends.”

Joaquin Niemann

While eight players already qualified for the Presidents Cup International Team that will play the U.S. team in December at Royal Melbourne in Australia, Captain Ernie Elswill choose the four remaining team members the week of November 4, and Niemann is now officially on his radar.

“Being on the Presidents Cup is just a dream,” Niemann said. “It’s a really good team this year. There’s a lot of good players fighting for those spots. This win definitely helps.”

Niemann grew up in Santiago, Chile, won a pair of junior world titles and was the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world before turning pro in 2018. He played his first full season on tour in 2019, finishing No. 67 in the FedEx Cup standings.

In 2017, Niemann finished tied for 29th as an amateur at The Greenbrier after receiving a sponsor’s exemption. He improved to a tie for fifth in 2018.

Niemann said the resort’s dozens of amenities have steered his mind away from the pressure of golf. Among the activities he participated in before the tournament started was exploring the rugged side of West Virginia with his caddie in an off-road vehicle.

“I was just feeling like I was going to win the tournament from the first day,” he said. “I was in that mindset.”

Niemann is the first third-round leader to win at The Greenbrier since its debut in 2010. He shot 64 in the final round for the third straight year.

He told himself before the round started to go out and have fun.

“I was just trying not to think of anything else,” Niemann said. “My caddie made me laugh to try to forget about it. The last couple of holes I was feeling great.”

It marks the first year since 1931 that there has been more than one tour winner under 21. Matthew Wolff won the 3M Openin June at 20 years, 2 months.