Munoz takes 1-shot lead in wide-open John Deere Classic

Jul 10, 2021, 3:33 AM | Updated: 4:11 pm

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Sebastian Munoz tried to imagine what Saturday at the John Deere Classic would have felt like without electronic scoreboards around the golf course.

It have created a lot less stress. In rain-softened conditions at the TPC Deere Run, everyone knew that making birdies was the only way to stay in the game.

Once the rain cleared and Munoz no longer had to deal with keeping clubs dry and umbrella open, the Colombian ran off three birdies that gave him a 4-under 67 and a one-shot lead going into the final round.

“It’s huge,” said Munoz, who was at 16-under 197. “Every shot counts, and having every extra one for tomorrow might help me out a lot.”

Even so, there’s reason to feel as though the 50th edition of this tournament is just getting started with 10 players separated by three shots.

Brandon Hagy, still looking for his first PGA Tour victory in his 93rd career start, also had a 67 and was one shot behind.

“Definitely within my grasp,” Hagy said. “I feel like I can hit all the shots that’s necessary to get me over the top. But the key is all these guys here can hit those shots, you just have to stay within yourself, and a few bounces here and there go your way, and we’ll see what happens.”

Five players were two shots behind, a group that included Scott Brown, who had a 63 to match the low score of the round. Adam Long (64), Cameron Champ (64), Kevin Na (66) and Ryan Moore (68) joined him at 14-under 199.

“The beauty of this place is it ain’t over until it’s legitimately over,” said Zach Johnson, a past Deere winner who had a 67. He was six shots behind.

Five of the last six winners of the John Deere Classic finished at 20 under or better, the exception being Bryson DeChambeau four years ago when he captured his first PGA Tour title at a paltry 18 under.

Luke List is among those within three shots of the lead despite his struggles. List began the weekend with a one-shot lead. He didn’t make a birdie until the 10th hole, and when he missed a 6-foot birdie attempt on the final hole, he had to settle for a 71.

Even so, he still has a chance at his first PGA Tour title.

Of the 20 players within five shots of the lead, seven have never won on tour.

Five of the seven players within two shots of Munoz are not yet eligible for the British Open next week a Royal St. George’s in England. The leading player from among the top five gets in the final major of the year. Munoz already is eligible, while Na has withdrawn because of international travel requirements.

Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, a three-time winner at the Deere who chose to help celebrate the tournament’s 50th anniversary instead of defending his title in the U.S. Senior Open, had a 68 and was seven shots behind. Stricker birdied his last three holes.

Munoz had two early birdies to take the lead, only to give those shots back with a pair of bogeys from the fairway. Those boards let him know he was falling behind.

“We could see on the leaderboard that people were going low, and you didn’t want to kind of fade,” Munoz said. “So it was really important to birdie 11, 13 and 16 coming in, so it was nice to be in the position I am right now.”

The timing is critical for some players beyond going after their first win. Players like Brown, Moore and Champ are well outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup with only a month remaining before the PGA Tour postseason begins.

“At this point with my position in the FedEx Cup, I kind of need to win,” Brown said. “So it kind of frees me up in a way. I have one goal, and it’s to come in here and win.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

Munoz takes 1-shot lead in wide-open John Deere Classic