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  • BUPA CHALLENGE

    Núñez shoots 63, takes control in São Paulo

  • Augusto Núñez’s second-round 63 matched José Toledo’s opening 63 for low round of the tournament. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    Augusto Núñez’s second-round 63 matched José Toledo’s opening 63 for low round of the tournament. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
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  • SÃO PAULO, Brazil— Augusto Núñez began his 2019 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season 5-over through his first 54 holes. It’s been a bunch of under-par rounds since then. Friday, in the second round of the Sao Paulo Golf Club Championship, Núñez followed his opening 68 with an 8-under 63. At 11-under, Núñez takes a three-shot lead into the weekend.

    Tied for second are Americans Dalan Refioglu, Ryan Cole and Seth Fair. After bad weather prematurely ended the first round Thursday, players completed their first 18 holes in the morning following another delay, with only half the field finishing the first 36 holes. Officials ended play for the day at 5:30 p.m. Seventy players were unable to complete their second rounds.

    Despite a long day of golf that saw Nunez play the final six holes of his first round Friday morning, he opened his second round with a four-birdies-in-five-hole stretch that took him to 7-under. Despite a bogey at No. 6, he rebounded with birdies at Nos. 7 and 9 and then added three more on his back nine—on Nos. 14, 16 and 17. Since his 72-75-74 start to his 2019 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, Núñez is a combined 80-under par since and has been one of the Tour’s most-consistent players.

    “I'm happy because I played very well from the tee and on my second shots. The four times I hit driver today, although I went over the green, I made great ups and downs, and on the front nine the putter worked quite well,” Núñez said.
    This season, Núñez has four top-10s, his best outing a runner-up finish to Evan Harmeling at the BMW Jamaica Classic in mid-May. He entered this week No. 3 on the Order of Merit as he looks to return to the Korn Ferry Tour, where he played full seasons in 2017 and 2018.

    In a tie for fifth, at 7-under, are Chile’s Gustavo Silva, Mexico’s Raul Pereda, Spain’s Mario Beltran, Argentina’s Ignacio Marino and American Michael Buttacavoli. Three other players—John Somers, Jose Toledo and Shad Tuten—are at 7-under with holes still to play. Action resumes Saturday morning at 6:40.
    Did you know Augusto Núñez has played in 40 Korn Ferry Tour tournaments between 2017 and 2018? His best finish was a second-place showing at the 2017 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, finishing a stroke behind Nate Lashley.

    Key Information

    • Augusto Núñez’s second-round 63 matched José Toledo’s opening 63 for low round of the tournament.

    • Dalan Refioglu’s PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career began in 2015. This is his 45th career start, and he’s only had one top-10 in that time—a tie for sixth at the Neuquén Argentina Classic.

    • This season, Augusto Núñez has turned in 23 under-par scores in his 30 official stroke-play rounds. From the second round of the 88 Abierto OSDE del Centro, Nunez reeled off 13 consecutive par-or-better rounds, his streak ending with a 1-over 71 at the Abierto Mexicano de Golf.

    • First-round leader José Toledo was only able to play two holes of his second round. He is 1-over and at 7-under.

    • Order of Merit leader Tom Whitney opened with a 2-under 69 and was 2-under through six holes Friday when officials suspended play. At 4-over overall, he is within the projected cutline of 3-under.

    • None of the six amateurs are currently projected to make the cut. The best of the group is Brazil’s Guilherme Grinberg. After a 3-under 68 to open the tournament, he made a double bogey on his second hole of the day after starting with a par. He only played two holes.

    • Three players have withdrawn, leaving the field size at 141. Chile’s Horacio Leon, Brazil’s Jovenillo Ferreira Souto and American Nicolo Galletti all withdrew after their first rounds.

    • The top Brazilian this week has been Herik Machado. After a 67-70 start, he is tied for 18th, at 5-under. Others players from Brazil who finished their second rounds and are inside the projected cutline of 3-under are Axell Gustavo Balestre (4-under) and Rafael Becker and Felipe Navarro (3-under). Rafael Barcellos is 3-under with 15 holes still to play.

    Quotable

    “On the sixth hole, I threw it into the trees and had to return the ball to the fairway. That was really the only mistake I had. Otherwise, it was a pretty solid day.” –Augusto Núñez

    “I don’t think about records or the future. I try to play shot by shot and the results have been coming along.” –Augusto Núñez

    “Since summer, I have been playing very well. I won twice in Colombia and once in Argentina, so that motivated me a lot. With my team, I have made a game plan that will surely allow me to return with my card for the Korn Ferry Tour.” –Augusto Núñez

    “It was a long day. I knew it was going to be a long day. I hit a lot of good shots and gave myself a lot of good looks. But I also missed a couple.” –Seth Fair

    “I play maybe a little more conservatively than some guys do off the tee. I just wanted to make sure I put myself into position to have an approach shot into the green. I hit my approach irons really well, and when I did have to hit driver I hit it well.” –Seth Fair

    “I’m not giving myself many opportunities to make mistakes right now.” –Seth Fair

    “Good golf kind of takes care of everything.” –Seth Fair

    “I’d really like to get back out there. I think my game is in even a better spot than it was three years ago. If I just play really solid the second half of the season, I think I’ll give myself a good chance to do that.” –Seth Fair on his desire to return to the Korn Ferry Tour

    “It was good. It was a long day with the little delay this morning. It was a very solid golf round and a lot of high-quality golf shots. I left some putts out there, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m proud of how I played.” –Dalan Refioglu

    “I went driver, 7-iron from around 200 yards. I hit a great shot in there to about five or six feet and made that. Obviously, that gets some momentum going. At that point I think I was a couple-under, and that got me to 4-under for the day. That was a big boost there, for me.” –Dalan Refioglu

    “It’s part of what we do. You have to deal with it the best you can. Today I didn’t warm up that much. I kind of stretched and hit some balls. You have to deal with it. We’ve had delays this year and in the past. It’s just part of the deal.” –Dalan Refioglu

    “I just think specifically at this golf course, it can be a very challenging test of golf. You have to keep the ball in front of you. Winning and all that takes care of itself if you do your job and play each hole the best you can.” –Dalan Refioglu

    “Sometimes I have a lapse in focus here and there. I think if I just stay focused and play each hole at a time—I know that sounds boring and everybody says it—but it’s an important thing not to get too ahead of yourself.” –Dalan Refioglu

    Second-Round Weather Report

    Mostly cloudy and pleasant. High of 75. Lightning delayed the resumption of the first round until 9:30 a.m. Second-round play ended for the day at 5:30 p.m., due to darkness—with 71 players still on the course. Wind variable at 8-10 mph.