OXFORD, Miss. – First-round play at the North Mississippi Classic was suspended at 7:40 p.m. CST on Thursday due to darkness, with two groups on the course still to complete their rounds. Play is set to resume Friday at 7:40 a.m., with second-round tee times to begin as originally scheduled. Alabama native Conner Godsey and former Web.com Tour winner Sebastian Muñoz climbed atop the leaderboard before the suspension, with Roland Thatcher and Cameron Davis sitting just one stroke behind the leading duo.
Godsey opened play at the Country Club of Oxford with a birdie on the par-4 10th, his starting hole, before bogeying the following hole to slow his momentum. The 27-year-old fought back against the rough start and the brisk morning, bogeying Nos. 13-15 and No. 17 to make the turn at 4-under. Godsey would go on to pick up another birdie on his second nine to finish his opening round in Oxford at 5-under 67.
“I played well today,” the former PGA TOUR Latinoamericá competitor reflected. “All of the parts of my game were pretty solid. I hit it pretty well, made some good putts, and had a couple of good saves. Overall it was just a good, solid round of golf.”
Godsey, who held the solo-lead heading into the final round of this year’s El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova, becomes just the third player this season to hold an end-of-round lead in more than one event. Though the former University of North Alabama Lion has carded nine sub-70 rounds this season, he’s had a difficult time stringing together four-consecutive solid rounds in competition.
“The game is there and I’ve played a lot of good golf this year,” Godsey remarked. “I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and the results will come. It’s really just been a process to work my way up and feel like I belong at each level.”
Muñoz joins Godsey atop the first-year event’s leaderboard, seeking his first Web.com Tour win since the Country Club de Bogotá Championship in 2016. As for the key to his initial success this week, the 25-year-old cites a much needed two-week break in his hometown of Bogotá.
“That was key,” Munoz commented after the round. “I had time with the family, had a wedding, and spent some nice time with my friends. That always helps for the long season that we have coming up. My home base is in Dallas, Texas, but whenever my mind feels like I need to go home and be refreshed, I just go (home).”
Munoz’s driver was firing on all cylinders during the opening round, as he landed 11 of 14 fairways on the Jim Fazio-designed course.
“I think my driver played a key part,” he said. “I also like putting on Bermuda greens. My putting was good today. I made a couple more than I expected to, so that was good. A new course is always a challenge – but we’ll just take it one shot at a time.”
* Thursday weather: Partly Cloudy, High 57, Winds N 8-16 mph with gusts of 20-25 mph.
* This week’s purse is $550,000, with $99,000 going to the champion.
* The 2018 North Mississippi Classic marks the first time the Web.com Tour has hosted a tournament in the state of Mississippi since 2000, when the final iteration of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Open was played in Pass Christian, Mississippi, at The Oaks Golf Club.
* All seven events this season have been captured by first-time Tour winners. The last time that happened was in 2002, when the first 10 events were won by first-timers.
* In just his second start on the Web.com Tour, Australian Cameron Davis sits at 3-under with two holes left to play. The Australian Open winner made his first career appearance in January at the Panama Championship, where he finished 72nd.
* Local amateur and Ole Miss standout Braden Thornberry finished Thursday at 3-over 75. He sits T102 heading into Friday.
* After battling a thumb injury that kept him out for 18 months, Virginia native Roland Thatcher posted an opening-round 68 to finish Thursday one back of the lead at 4-under par. Thatcher has made one cut in four starts this season (Country Club de Bogotá Championship, T73).
* Tour rookie Patrick Newcomb celebrated his 29th birthday during the opening round. Despite being 4-over through seven, he birdied six of his last 11 to finish at 1-under 71, T21.
* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour heads to Evansville, Indiana, for the United Leasing & Finance Championship, contested at Victoria National Golf Club. The 2017 Tournament of the Year will be followed by an off-week.