Munoz picks up where he left off, shares lead in Mississippi

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Defending champion Sebastian Munoz, of Colombia, reacts to his second shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship golf tournament in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. – Defending champion Sebastian Munoz found happy memories Thursday at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Munoz nearly holed a wedge on his opening hole as part of his fast start, ran in four straight birdies on the back nine and wound up with an 8-under 64 to share of the lead with Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman.

The Country Club of Jackson was soft from recent downpours, though the greens were running fast and true, contributing to the good scoring.

Sixteen players were at 67 or better.

“I don't know, the energy of this place, I really like it,” Munoz said. “I just kind of thrive on it.”

The Colombian figured there were good scores to be had when he saw Walker and Hoffman at 64 before he teed off, with plenty of other low scores right behind them. His only bogey came on the ninth hole when his drive landed in a divot and he missed the green to the left.

All that did was slow his momentum briefly, and he picked that right back up starting on the 13th with four straight birdies, all of them within 6 feet.

Walker wasn't feeling his best and wasn't sure what to expect, especially after missing two short birdie putts to start his round. Instead, it was his best start in more than two years. His eighth and final birdie of a bogey-free round was on No. 8, where he had a speck of mud o the right of the ball, the wind out of the right and the pin tucked to the right.