(Reuters) - Returning champion Sebastian Munoz drained four straight birdies on the back nine to claim his share of a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard in the first round at the Sanderson Farms Championship on Thursday.
Colombia’s Munoz shot an eight-under par 64 in Jackson, Mississippi, with a trio of Americans - Kevin Chappell, Charley Hoffman and 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker - equaling the effort in a field that offered little room for error.
Munoz, whose only flaw in the day was a bogey on the ninth hole, said he thrived at the Country Club of Jackson course, where he claimed his only PGA Tour win to date after a playoff against Im Sung-jae last year.
“The layout is really good. You have to hit drivers both left to right and right to left, and I like to control my ball, and then the greens are pure, so kind of where you start it it’s going to finish,” he told reporters.
Walker, who has struggled since the tour came back from hiatus, harnessed a steady putt for a flawless round, despite working through some tendonitis in his elbow and shoulder pain.
“I was a little nervous starting out, I’m not going to lie,” said Walker, who sunk an 18-foot putt for birdie on 18. “But after that I felt super confident in the reads. Some of these greens are kind of tough to read. They’re super subtle.”
Rounding out the field were Canadian Micahel Gligic and South Africa’s M.J. Daffue, who each shot a seven-under par 65.
The second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship begins Friday.
Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Stephen Coates
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