Torque GC’s Sebastián Muñoz played his first 11 holes in Friday’s opening round of LIV Golf Orlando in 8 under. The thought of shooting 59 certainly was on his mind as he headed toward the tee box at the par-4 seventh hole.
“Last year I shot 60 two times, so it’s one of my goals, to get to 59 one day,” Muñoz said. “I thought I hit a good shot on 7. I gave myself a 45-footer and I three-putted that one. I knew that was going to kind of be the end of the 59 strategy.”
Even so, Muñoz finished his round with consecutive birdies to shoot a 9-under 62 at Orange County National. That ties for the lowest score in LIV Golf history and gives the Colombian star a two-shot advantage going into the weekend of the third event on the LIV Golf League schedule. Cleeks GC’s Richard Bland is in solo second at 64, while Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka and Tucson winner Danny Lee of Iron Heads GC share third at 65.
“Great day,” said Muñoz, who began his round with an eagle at the par-5 14th. “Felt really in control of my driver, irons, putting. … Everything felt kind of easy today.”
Smash leads the team leaderboard with a cumulative 14 under, one stroke better than Torque. Chase Koepka and Matthew Wolff supported their captain with counting scores of 4-under 67.
Smash is one of three teams that have yet to finish inside the points (top eight) through the first two events. Majesticks GC (third place at 11 under) and Cleeks GC (tied for 4th at 10 under) are the other two.
“It’s nice to see the team finally playing well,” Brooks Koepka said. “Chase played well and then Matt has been doing what he’s been doing. Just nice to see us actually compete, and hopefully we’re there on Sunday.”
The Koepka brothers were both born and raised in Florida. Brooks Koepka said he played some junior events at Orange County National two decades ago, but it’s his younger brother Chase who has more experience on the Crooked Cat course.
“He’s had Q-school here so many times,” Brooks said. “He was telling us what to do in the practice rounds, so that doesn’t happen too often, just because we’ve played so many different golf courses of the years. … It definitely helps, so I’ll take his advice.
Captain Brooks Koepka of Smash GC during the first round of LIV Golf Orlando at Orange County National (Photo by Mike Stobe/LIV Golf)
Bland began his round with a double-bogey but quickly bounced back with consecutive birdies and eventually finished with an eagle to climb into solo second.
“I kind of righted the ship pretty quick,” Bland said. “I played the front nine great. Whenever I kind of had a look, I made it.”
Despite winning two weeks ago in just his second LIV Golf start, Lee said he did not enter Orlando with high expectations. He started his round with a bogey but eventually found his groove, shooting a bogey-free six under on his last 14 holes.
“Monday through Thursday, my body wasn’t feeling well,” Lee said. “I was feeling weak, wasn’t sleeping well because of the time difference coming over from the West Coast. I didn’t know I was going to play this well.”
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