How Phil Mickelson inspired the PGA Tour’s latest first-time winner

September 23, 2019

Sebastian Munoz channeled his inner-Phil Mickelson a few times during his breakthrough victory at the Sanderson Farms last week.

For starters, he hit only 52 percent of his fairways — Mickelson gets a little sideways off the tee, too — but the Colombian also took a page out of Lefty’s book for a key recovery shot during Sunday’s final round at the Country Club of Jackson.

Munoz went way left on the long par-4 6th hole, and his ball hit a tree and ricocheted back toward the tee box, traveling barely more than 200 yards. He had 260 remaining to the hole, but instead of pitching out to the right he pulled 3-wood, aimed even farther left and launched a massive slicing approach toward the green.

“If I just slice it, which is the shot I feel more comfortable with, fade instead of draw, I could give myself a chance,” Munoz told reporters afterward. “… [It] just reminded me of Phil [Mickelson]. What would Phil do?”

His ball came to rest about 30 yards from the green and he got up and down by making a 12-foot putt. That par save paid off big time hours later on the 18th tee, as it allowed Munoz to be only one back of leader Sungjae Im. Munoz made birdie on the 72nd hole to force the playoff and won in sudden death.

“I’m like, fortune favors the bold, so took it, believed in myself, pulled the shot [off on 6], and got the up and down,” he said. “Make it all worth it.”