WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Erratic off the tee, Sebastian Muñoz didn’t dominate the Old White TCP on Day 2 at the Greenbrier Classic. His short game was resilient enough, however, to retain a comfortable second-round lead.
Now the question becomes whether the Colombian newcomer can stay on top through the pressurized weekend.
“It’s fantastic. I mean, anyone would take the position I’m in right now,” he said.
Building on his first-round 61, Muñoz hit only five fairways Friday yet shot 67 and moved to 12-under.
Ben Martin sat three shots back along with Hudson Swafford, who birdied the par-3 18th after hitting a wedge within seven feet.
“Just kind of icing on the cake going in to the weekend,” said Swafford, whose only PGA win came in January at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
The trio at 8-under included defending champion Danny Lee, a surging Russell Henley and the venerable Davis Love III, aiming to become the oldest winner of a PGA event at age 53.
“I’m old, but I’m not done yet,” Love said after a mercurial round of six birdies and five bogeys.
Other notables making the cut included Patrick Reed (-5), Bubba Watson (-4), Webb Simpson (-3) and, yes, Phil Mickelson (-1), finally reaching the weekend on his fourth trip to the Greenbrier.
Among the contending pack, Love’s hall-of-fame profile resonates and, perhaps in some cases, intimidates.
“I used to smash it by them and intimidate them, but I don’t do that anymore,” he said. “Sure, there might be some guys that might be just uncomfortable playing with me, just like I was uncomfortable playing with Ben Crenshaw when I came out.
“After a while we seemed to get used to it. These guys are pros and they’re ready to go.”
Not only is Love hungry to win for the first time since 2015, he’s also seeking one of four potential qualifier spots to the British Open.
Muñoz wants to handle success better than he did at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month, when he sat 9-under through two rounds but finished at 2-over.
“I feel like Memphis taught me that maybe I was caring too much, trying to hit too many perfect shots all the time,” he said. “You know, this week me and my caddie discussed it and we’re just going to hit the same shot like if it was the only shot I had. Just carefree with intention and not just trying to like smooth it there.”
He spent Thursday night watching “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” with a buddy — “For American fans, great movie” — and left the clubhouse Friday to take a stab at falconry. Muñoz said he was trying to distract himself from the scrutiny of being the Classic’s frontrunner.
The pack in pursuit is ready to pounce.
“He’s got to play a long way and we got to play a long way,” Love said. “Four shots is not that much with 36 to go. Hopefully I can catch him and get in the last group with him on Sunday.”