Date: September 23, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

Munoz puts hand up for Royal Melbourne

With Presidents Cup captain’s picks right on the line, Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz has thrown his hat in the ring with a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson.

Meanwhile South Korea’s Sungjae Im, who lost a playoff to Munoz, missed a great opportunity to secure his position in Ernie Els’ International team for Royal Melbourne in December.

Munoz made a birdie putt from outside four metres at the 72nd hole to get into the playoff with Im at 18-under par, then got up and down from the front fringe for par at the first playoff hole to win.

Im, the 2019 rookie of the year, hit his approach from the left roung long and left into the grandstand, and after a free drop he could not make the up-and-down, taking bogey to lose. He is still looking for his first win on the major tour, having previously won twice on the old Tour.

The 21-year-old Im may well be in Els’ sights as one of the four captain’s picks to be named soon anyway, having logged seven top-10 finishes last season. But Munoz, 26, from Bogota, is a wildcard, having played the full 2018-19 season on the US Tour with three top-10 finishes and now with his first victory on the US Tour.

Els’ four captain’s picks are still not completely clear, although he has recently said there were a couple of obvious selections. One could be Australia’s Jason Day, who has played Presidents Cup before and who was only one spot outside the qualifying group of eight. Another could be Im, along with South Africa’s Justin Harding, while Joaquin Niemann of Chile, who won the Greenbrier event in the US recently, is considered a strong chance of playing.

Australia’s Cameron Percy finished tied-11th   in Jackson, shooting 14-under to pick up $US150,000 for his good week. Cameron Davis finished tied-28th after a closing 69.