Flor de Caña Open belongs to Augusto Núñez
The win, his first as a professional, turned the Argentine into the new PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit No. 1
September 04, 2016
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- September 04, 2016
- The Flor de Caña Open win was Núñez's fifth top-4 in his last 12 starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
In This Article
GUACALITO DE LA ISLA, Tola, Nicaragua – Frequently in contention over the past few months on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Augusto Núñez finally had his opportunity to shine with a victory at the inaugural Flor de Caña Open presented by The Mortage Store late on Sunday.
In a day a thunderstorm nearly got the final round cancelled, the 23-year old was able to keep his composure to win by one over his countryman Emilio Puma Domínguez and Eric Steger of the U.S.
Núñez carded a 6-under 65 on the final round to move up from the second spot and win at 25-under 259 in Guacalito de la Isla, a new PGA TOUR Latinoamérica venue that left quite an impression this week on the shores of Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast.
“I couldn’t be happier about winning my first tournament as a pro,” said Núñez. “I was nervous, but I was able to overcome the tough moments by giving myself many chances. I knew I was playing well and I just needed to trust myself and my caddie, who helped me a lot.”
In addition to winning for the first time in four years as a professional, the Argentine managed to move past Domínguez to become the new PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit No. 1.
Trailing Domínguez for most of the day on Sunday, Núñez made a late charge to move ahead for good. Going birdie-birdie-par-birdie-eagle between Nos. 12 and 16, he opened a three-shot lead with two holes to play.
Although Domínguez and Steger turned the pressure back on by moving within one shot with eagles at the par-5 No. 17, none of them were able to birdie the last, a scenic par-3 right on the beach.
“It was a moment of pressure, but I was able to handle it well,” admitted Núñez, who fell to his knees on the 18th green after sinking a short par putt to secure the win.
Núñez reacts to his par putt for the win at the 72nd hole. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Being only 23, Núñez has a tremendous future ahead of him. He seems to be the last in a now rare breed of former caddies, whose hard work to rise from poverty has produced some of the biggest success stories in Latin American golf in the past.
“It has been a roller coaster ride and I really have to thank all the people who have helped me get here, specially Sebastián Fernández. He believed in me since the first time he saw me play and he took me under his wing to help me move to Buenos Aires to work on my game. I believe he is really the one this trophy belongs to,” added Núñez about his mentor, a successful Argentine pro who late in his competitive days won a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event in 2012.
Including Sunday’s win, Núñez has now collected five top-4s and three other top-25s in his last 12 starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. No other Tour member has played better than him in that same stretch, which included a playoff loss to Mexico’s Sebastián Vázquez at the Abierto Mexicano last May.
Improving his season earnings to $67,798 dollars to open a $6,523 lead over Domínguez, he is now the man to chase on the race to move up to the Web.com Tour in 2017.
There are nine official tournaments left to play on the schedule, including the new San Luis Championship, which begins on Thursday in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Suspension of play
Because of a thunderstorm, the final round of the tournament was suspended for over two hours between 12:51 p.m. and 2:55 p.m. With the sun setting at 5:45 p.m., if play had not resumed by 3 p.m. the final round would have been canceled.
About Augusto Núñez
He was born on November 3, 1992 in Yerba Buena, Tucuman, Argentina.
The victory at the Flor de Caña Open was his first in four years as a pro.
He claimed the win at the age of 23 years, 10 months, 1 day, becoming the 48th PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champion in his 20s.
He became the ninth winner in as many events this season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
He was making his 49th career start on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
The winner’s check for $31,500 improved his season earnings to $67,798, turning him into the new PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Oder of Merit No. 1.
The Flor de Caña Open had an impact on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit, as two players – Augusto Núñez and Eric Steger – were able to move inside the top-3 with their performances in Guacalito de la Isla. The following are the standings thru 9 of 18 official tournaments played:
1. Augusto Núñez (Tucuman, Argentina) $67,798
2. Emilio Puma Domínguez (San Luis, Argentina) $61,369
3. Eric Steger (Noblesville, Indiana) $51,792
4. John Young Kim (Los Angeles, California) $44,841
5. Corey Conners (Ontario, Canada) $44,339
Augusto Nuñez shoots 65 to win the Flor de Cana Open