By Aaron Nolan
White Sulphur Springs, WV
Often times people get involved in a sport because their parents start them out at a young age or maybe they just have a natural interest and passion for the sport, but for current Greenbrier Classic leader Sebastian Munoz, golf was his way out. Munoz was born in Columbia and used golf as his way to come to college in the United States, “Basically I just went to college to kind of escape Colombia. Not escape, but like try to find a different thing, what I really wanted.”
While Munoz was trying to find what he really wanted, he found himself playing college golf at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. During his first few years of college golf Munoz admits that he wasn’t trying very hard, “First couple of years I just took it pretty easy. I wasn’t playing very good… then my coach threatened to take away my scholarship.” Munoz knew that there was no way he could afford to continue college if he lost his scholarship, so he decided that he should start playing better, which is exactly what he did.
In 2013 Munoz’s college teammate Carlos Ortiz graduated from college and headed out to the Web.com tour where he found immediate success, winning three tournaments in his first season. Seeing his former teammate have so much success caused Munoz to realize that he too could potentially do the same. “I talked to [Ortiz] and was like, hey man I know you are good, but come on, I can beat you sometimes,” which Ortiz agreed on and told Munoz to keep on trying.
Following that conversation, Munoz started to take golf a lot more seriously and found immediate success, winning two college golf tournaments, including the 2015 Conference USA individual golf championship. After his time as a college golfer Munoz decided that he would pursue the game of golf at the professional level and was a member of the Web.com tour in 2016. In his first season on the Web.com tour, Munoz won the Columbia championship by one shot, which gave him barely enough money earned to get a PGA Tour card for this season.
Since Munoz was number 46th of the 50 Web.com tour players to earn a tour card, he has been having trouble getting a spot in events. The Greenbrier Classic is only his twelfth start of his career, but the lack of opportunities to play in tournaments doesn’t have Munoz down, “I’m in a tough spot, and just trying to make the best out of it. Not trying to think too much into it how lucky or bad things are going. I have the chance to play, and here I am.” Munoz has no doubt stepped up his play this week at the Greenbrier Classic and no matter what the result is come Sunday evening, he is just thankful for the opportunity to be competing on the biggest stage.
When the fans are lining the fairways on Sunday afternoon and the shots are becoming more pressure filled by the minute, Munoz will be loving every second of it, supporting that wide smile that fans have grown to love all week. He knows that he is in a very rare position for a rookie going into Sunday, but no matter what the outcome is, remember the story of Munoz and how sometimes in life all it takes is a simple push by a friend or coach, to change a life.