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Munoz Leads Spieth by 1 Shot Going to Final Round of 68th AT&T Byron Nelson

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Sebastian Munoz of Colombia didn’t lose his place atop the leaderboard.

The 29-year-old Munoz, who has been in the lead most of the way since opening with a tournament record 12-under-par 60, shot 66 and will take a one-stroke lead over ninth-ranked Jordan Spieth into the final round of the 68th AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.

Munoz, who holed a 57-foot bunker shot for an eagle on the sixth hole, added five birdies and took his only bogey at No. 16 while recording a 54-hole total of 21-under 195.

Spieth, a native of Dallas who played at the University of Texas, made five birdies on the front nine and added four more coming home against a single bogey on the 15th hole in a 64.

“It’s great to have a chance to win in  my hometown because my Dad was taking me out to this tournament since I was about 5-years-old,” said Spieth, who claimed the 15th PGA Tour victory of his career in his last start in the RBC Heritage. “Playing at home certainly is exciting and gets my blood flowing.

“It’s weird to shoot 67-65-64 and be behind, but that’s what this course is giving us this week. After taking a few weeks off, you never know how long it’s going to take to get your game back on track, but it’s nice to be in the mix and have a chance to win  tomorrow.”  

Joaquin Niemann of Chile carded a second straight 65 that included eight birdies and is two shots back in solo third, while James Hahn of Alameda and Cal sank a seven-foot eagle putt on the 12th hole, added 10 birdies in a bogey-free 61 and is three behind in a tie for fourth with eight-ranked Justin Thomas, who carded a bogey-free 64.

“I was just having fun out there,” said Hahn, who has won twice on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship. “I hit the ball well the first two days, but didn’t make any putts, and then today everything was going in.

“It feels good and I’m happy about the way I’m playing, but I’m not taking it for granted because it’s been a bit of a struggle for me the last couple of years. I’m just trying to stay in the moment and enjoy it without thinking too much.”

Defending champion K.H. Lee of South Korea birdied the last hole for a 67 and is four strokes behind in a tie for sixth with Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who birdied the last hole to cap a 68, and 36-hole co-leader Ryan Palmer, who finished at 70.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, another Texan who has won four times this season including the Masters, made seven birdies in a 65 and is five shots behind in a tie for ninth with Davis Riley, who put up a second straight 64, and Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, who had three birdies on each nine in a 67.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, the 2021 Masters champion who is ranked 13th, is tied for 18th after a 69, 11th-ranked Dustin Johnson shot 66 and is tied for 21st, and 12th-ranked Xander Schauffele, the Olympic Gold Medalist from La Jolla and San Diego State, is tied for 30th following a bogey-free 65.

For complete results, https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html  



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PGA Tour Picks: 51st John Deere Classic

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By TOM LaMARRE

The 51st John Deere Classic will be played beginning Thursday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., and for the first time in several years it won’t be held one week before the Open Championship, which is the final major of the season.

Usually, players who also are competing in the oldest championship in the world would climb on a plane soon after the final putt dropped in the John Deere for the charter flight to the United Kingdom, and often there would be players onboard who only earned their spots in the field that day.

This year, they will at least have the opportunity to go home and make normal preparations because the 150th Open Championship won’t be played until July 14-17 on the famed Old Course at St. Andrews Links in Scotland, known as “The Home of Golf.”

Three players who finish in the top 10 of the John Deere Classic this week and have not yet earned positions in the Open will receive exemptions into the field at St. Andrews.

“We are very excited to be able to offer players three opportunities to qualify for the Open Championship, especially the historic 150th edition at St. Andrews, the home of golf,” said Clair Peterson, executive director of the John Deere Classic. “We have had a very positive relationship with the R&A for nearly two decades and we’re very appreciative of receiving three exemptions this year.”

No exemptions were offered to players in the John Deere Classic last year because of complications surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic. John Deere Classic champions who have received exemptions to the Open in the past include Jordan Spieth in 2013 and Bryson DeChambeau in 2017.

Lucas Glover (pictured), the 2009 U.S. Open champion, came from four shots behind in the final round last year by shooting seven-under-par to claim his fourth PGA Tour victory by two strokes over Ryan Moore and Kevin Na in the John Deere Classic.

The John Deere Classic will be played opposite the second event of the controversial new LIV Golf Tour, which will be held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., and feature four more PGA Tour stars—DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer of Mexico.

Among those who played in the first LIV event in London and have been banned by the PGA Tour are Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, Sergio Garcia of Spain, Lee Westwood of England, Kevin Na, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace of South Africa, Matt Jones of Australia, Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, Ian Poulter of England, Hudson Swafford and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who won the LIV opener.

The 42-year-old Glover said he wasn’t tempted by the large bonuses being offered by the Saudi-backed tour.

“I’m playing the PGA Tour and I like it,” said Glover, whose victory in the John Deere last year was his first since the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship. “I’m not judging anybody. I just choose to support the PGA Tour.

“ … Making the turn (in the John Deere last year), I took a long look at the scoreboard and noticed nobody was really going too low. I just said, ‘There’s a lot of birdie holes on the back.’ It’s just the mindset of what we do to stay aggressive and try to post a number.”

That’s what he did and it turned out to be enough.

Among those joining Glover in the John Deere Classic field are Daniel Berger, Jason Day of Australia, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Cameron Champ, Adam Hadwin of Canada, Sahith Theegala, Martin Laird of Scotland, Charles Howell III, J.T. Poston, Chez Reavie, Bill Haas, Rory Sabbatini of South Africa, Maverick McNealy and Steve Stricker, who has won the tournament a record three times along with D.A. Weibring.

They’re all looking toward Scotland, not Saudi Arabia.

BEST BETS

1. Daniel Berger, United States – A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the AT&T Pebble Beach last year, Berger has posted seven finishes in the top 10 this season, including a tie for fifth in the Memorial earlier this month. He is making his fourth start in the John Deere Classic, with his best result a tie for fifth in 2017, when he shot 63 in the third round.

2. Adam Hadwin, Canada – Coming off a tie for seventh in the U.S. Open after an opening 66, Hadwin has five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season. His only PGA Tour victory came in the 2017 Valspar and he also won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour and twice on the PGA Tour Canada. Makes third start in the John Deere, tying for eighth in 2016 and tying for 18 in 2015.

3. Webb Simpson, United States – The 2012 U.S. Open and 2018 Players champion was in the hunt most of the way last week in the Travelers after starting 64-69-66, but closed with a 71 and slid to a tie for 14th. It was his fourth top-25 this season, including a tie for 20th in the PGA Championship. He is making his third start in the John Deere, with his best a tie for 21st in 2010.

4. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, South Africa – A seven-time winner in his professional career, Bezuidenhout is playing his rookie season on the PGA Tour at the age of 28. He finished seventh in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year and has seven finishes in the top 25 this season, including a tie for 12th in the AT&T Byron Nelson. He is making his debut in the John Deere.

5. Sahith Theegala, United States – The rookie from Pepperdine seemed headed for his first PGA Tour victory last week before two miscues on the final hole left him one shot back in a tie for second in the Travelers. Theegala has five top-10 results this season, including a tie for third in Phoenix and a tie for fifth in the Memorial. He is making his first start in the John Deere.

6. Brendon Todd, United States – Has won three times on the PGA Tour, including at Mayakoba and in Bermuda two years ago, and also claimed two victories on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour. Todd was third in the Charles Schwab and tied for eighth in the Texas Open among seven top-25 finishes this season. Best result in the John Deere was a tie for 18th in 2019.

7. Chez Reavie, United States – Coming off a tie for eighth in the Travelers Championship after posting for scores in the 60s, Reavie also tied for 10th in the Genesis, tied for 13th in Mexico and tied for 15th in the Wells Fargo this season. He’s making his 10th start in the John Deere and his best results were a tie for fifth in 2011, a tie for 15th in 2013 and a tie for 18th in last season.

8. Lucas Glover, United States – The defending champion in the John Deere, which he has played 12 times, claimed his fourth PGA Tour victory in the event last year after tying for 10th in 2019, tying for 11th in 2007 and tying for 15th in 2013. Glover closed with a 64 to win by two shots. His best this season was a tie for fifth in the Sony Open and he tied for 23rd in PGA.

9. Jason Day, Australia – A 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2015 PGA and the 2016 Players, Day has been battling a back injury in recent seasons but tied for third in the Farmers and tied for 15th in the Travelers recently after opening with a 63. He is playing in the John Deere Classic for the sixth time and his best finishes were ties for 15th in 2009 and 2010.

10. Dylan Frittelli, South Africa – Claimed his only PGA Tour victory and one of five as a pro in the 2019 John Deere Classic by two strokes over Russell Henley by closing with a 64, his fourth round in the 60s. The event was not played in 2020 because of Covid-19 and he missed the cut by one at 69-71 last year. Frittelli’s best this season was a tie for eighth in Texas Open.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cameron Champ, United States; Adam Svensson, Canada; Denny McCarthy, United States; Charles Howell III, United States; Cam Davis, Australia; J.T. Poston, United States; Martin Laird, Scotland; Scott Stallings, United States; Steve Stricker, United States; Zach Johnson, United States.

SLEEPERS

1. Nick Hardy, United States – Finished in a T-8 last week in the Travelers after a T-14 in the U.S. Open a week earlier. Opened and closed with 66s to T-43 in the 2018 John Deere.

2. Davis Riley, United States – Two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour last season lost to Sam Burns in a playoff at Valspar, was T-4 in Charles Schwab and fifth in Mexico Open this season.

3. Taylor Pendrith, Canada – Twice a winner on PGA Tour Canada in 2019, Pendrith has finished T-5 in Bermuda, T-13 in Players Championship and T-16 in the Farmers this season.

4. Matthias Schwab, Austria – PGA Tour rookie, who won five times as an amateur, finished T-7 in the Honda Classic and the Puerto Rico Open, and T-8 in the Valero Texas Open this season.

5. Hayden Buckley, United States – Winner on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and PGA Tour Canada in 2019 was T-4 at Sanderson Farms, T-8 in Shriners and T-12 in Sony Open this season.

For first-round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html



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How your Clubhead Lie Affects Your Shots

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Megan Johnston

Originally from Northern Ireland, Megan Johnston represented her country playing competitively in the Junior Ranks and came to America on a Division 1 golf scholarship.

As an LPGA professional Golf Instructor, Megan interned under Golf Digest Top 50 instructor, Tim Mahoney, and PGA Putting Tour record holder, Kenny Knox. She has taught all ages and skill levels ranging from competitive high schoolers to Florida senior game champions in Missouri, Arizona, Maine, and Florida. Megan is currently the lead female instructor at King’s Ridge Golf Academy, in Clermont, Florida and works as a golf instructor at The First Tee of Cental Florida (Girl’s Golf of Central Florida).

Megan’s teaching methods are noted as both unique and effective as she helps improve her client’s game by focusing on individual goal setting.

You won’t want to miss Megan on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter where she shares tips and recommends simple drills for improving your game.


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Menante Rolls to Nine-Shot Victory in 60th Northeast Amateur Invitational

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Dylan Menante of Carlsbad was in a class by himself in the 60th Northeast Amateur Invitational.

The 21-year-old Menante won the tournament for the second year in a row, but this time he did it by a whopping nine strokes over Karl Vilips of and Australia and Stanford at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I.

Menante posted a score of 62-62-64-67—257, 19-under-par, and broke by four shots the 72-hole tournament record set by Peter Uihlein of Jupiter, Fla., in 2011 and equaled by Justin Suh of San Jose and USC in 2018.

“It is cool to be able to win here again,” said Menante, who recently transferred from Pepperdine to North Carolina for his senior year. “I am not sure if the redesign of the golf course will yield lower scores in the future. Only time will tell but breaking the tournament record means a lot. This week as all about grit and determination.

“I don’t hit it as solid as a lot of the players here, but my short game made up for it. My putter was far better than any other club in my bag. It is tough to keep your mind in it when you have a big lead. You feel like you can give shots away and don’t have to grind for par. But that isn’t a great attitude to have. I was trying to keep going low.

“The coaches at Pepperdine did a great job helping me with my attitude and keeping me calm. My golf game is notorious for making a lot of birdies or making a lot of bogeys. If I can stay level, that is better long-term for me. Since my short game is good, that helps me not fret over bad shots.

“I am not sure if I will be able to go for a three-peat. It is a definite possibility, but I am not sure. We will see how it pans out.”

Menante became the fifth player in the history of the Northeast Amateur to successfully defend his title, joining Ronnie Quinn (1964-65), John Cook (1978-79), Jay Sigel (1984-85) and Luke Donald (2000-01). His nine-stroke victory matched Cook’s tournament record set in 1979.

Vilips, who joined the great Bobby Jones as the youngest winners of the Men’s Southern Amateur at the age of 15 in 2017, was second at 71-66-66-63—266, followed by Caleb Surratt of Indian Trails, N.C., at 68-65-68-67—268.

Bryce Lewis of Hendersonville, Tenn., shot 67-70-67-66—270 to tie for fourth with Gordon Sargent of Mountain Brook, Ala., who finished at 65-71-65-69—270, while Preston Summerhays of Scottsdale, Ariz., totaled 70-66-69-66—271 to tie for sixth with Michael Brennan of Leesburg, Va., who wound up at 73-68-64-66—271.

Andrew Goodman of Palm City, Fla., carded a score of 71-71-66-64—272 to tie for eighth with Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Va., who finished at 66-66-70-70—272, while Connor Howe of Ogden, Utah, shot 65-72-71-65—273 to tie for 10th with Frankie Capan of North Oaks, Minn., who wound up at 68-73-66-66—273, Patrick Welch of Providence, R.I., who totaled 70-67-68-68—273, and Ethan Ng of New York City, who came in at 67-71-66-69—273.

Brian Stark of Kingsburg, Calif., tied for 19th at 70-71-68-67—276, while Ryan Burnett of Lafayette, Calif., tied for 23rd at 67-70-74-66—277, and Luke Potter of Encinitas, Calif., tied for 31st at 71-70-69-68—278.

Other previous winners of the Northeastern Amateur include Ben Crenshaw, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Luke Donald, Scott Hoch, John Cook, Hal Sutton, and David Duval.

For complete result, visit https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/8160787221146788912



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