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  • The First Look: 2019 Neuquén Argentina Classic

  • Chapelco Golf Club is welcoming the Neuquén Argentina Classic for the second consecutive year. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    Chapelco Golf Club is welcoming the Neuquén Argentina Classic for the second consecutive year. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
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  • SAN MARTÍN DE LOS ANDES, Argentina – This is the second of three consecutive Argentina tournaments as PGA TOUR Latinoamérica returns to stunning Chapelco Golf Club for the Neuquén Argentina Classic. Last year’s move from the Province of Buenos Aires to Neuquén, in the heart of the Argentinean Patagonia, provided a new glare to a well-established tournament that has been a key part of the Tour schedule since 2012. Surrounded by the Andes’ snowy peaks, pristine rivers and lakes, the course, co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, is one of the most beautiful golf venues in Latin America.

    As the fourth in a series of five PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments in Argentina this season, the 2019 Neuquén Argentina Classic moves players closer to the Zurich Argentina Swing finish line. The competition that rewards the top-performing player in Argentina is led by Tom Whitney of the U.S., who is closely followed by Alejandro Tosti of Argentina, the winner of the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational last Sunday.

    DATES: November 4-10, 2019
    OFFICIAL NAME: Neuquén Argentina Classic
    HASHTAG: #NeuquenArgentinaClassic
    SCHEDULE: 13th of 16 events this season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica
    VENUE: Chapelco Golf Club – San Martín de los Andes, Argentina
    PAR / YARDS: 72 (36-36) / 7,163
    DEFENDING CHAMPION: Clodomiro Carranza, Argentina
    PRIZE MONEY: The winner claims $31,500 FROM the $175,000 total
    CUT: Top-55 and ties

    FIELD NOTES:

    This week’s field features 138 players from 20 countries.

    Players in this field come from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, England, Finland, France, Guatemala, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United States and Venezuela.

    The leading 13 players on the Order of Merit are in the field. That group includes nine winners of official tournaments played this season. The following are their earnings and highlights entering this week:

    ORDER OF MERIT TOP-13

    Pos.

    Players

    Earnings U.S.

    2019 Season Notes

    1

    Augusto Núñez (Argentina)

    $108,966

    Banco del Pacífico Open winner, nine top-10s

    2

    Evan Harmeling (U.S.)

    $65,868

    BMW Jamaica Classic winner

    3

    John Somers (U.S.)

    $65,713

    Abierto de Chile winner

    4

    Tom Whitney (U.S.)

    $63,704

    Abierto OSDE del Centro winner

    5

    Shad Tuten (U.S.)

    $59,178

    JHSF Aberto do Brasil winner

    6

    Leandro Marelli (Argentina)

    $56,874

    Diners Club Peru Open winner

    7

    Patrick Flavin (U.S.)

    $53,676

    Bupa Match Play winner

    8

    Jared Wolfe (U.S.)

    $51,575

    Buenaventura Classic winner

    9

    Mito Pereira (Chile)

    $51,151

    Six top-10s

    10

    Ryan Ruffels (Australia)

    $50,456

    Two runner-up finishes

    11

    Andreas Halvorsen (Norway)

    $48,359

    Four top-10s, nine top-25s

    12

    Clodomiro Carranza (Argentina)

    $42,204

    Eight top-25s, runner-up in Ecuador

    13

    Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)

    $42,001

    Puerto Plata Open winner

    Coming off a tie for seventh at the inaugural Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational on Sunday, Argentina’s own Augusto Núñez makes it to San Martín de los Andes holding a solid lead as the No. 1 player on the Order of Merit. With $108,966 in season earnings, Núñez has a $43,098 advantage over No. 2 Evan Harmeling of the U.S.

    Ranked third on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit through the first half of the season, Núñez soared to the top of the standings as soon as the second half of the season resumed seven weeks ago, in Brazil. Over the course of his past five starts, he has recorded a win, a runner-up finish and three other top-10s. His Tour-leading scoring average of 68.31 overall is almost a stroke better (67.35) in the season’s second half, where he has recorded 16 rounds in the 60s and 19 sub-par rounds out of 20 total rounds. The following is a look at his tournament results and scores during the second half of the year:

    Augusto's second half

    Pos.

    Tournament

    R1

    R2

    R3

    R4

    Total

    Earnings

    OOM

    2

    Sao Paulo GC Championship

    68

    63

    67

    69

    267 (-17)

    $18,900

    1

    T7

    JHSF Aberto do Brasil

    61

    72

    65

    70

    268 (-16)

    $5,454.16

    1

    1

    Banco del Pacífico Open

    68

    67

    64

    67

    266 (-22)

    $31,500

    1

    T10

    Diners Club Peru Open

    67

    67

    70

    70

    274 (-14)

    $4,025

    1

    T7

    Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational

    69

    69

    65

    69

    272 (-16)

    $5,271.87

    1

    In addition to holding the Order of Merit and the scoring average lead, Augusto Núñez is the only Tour member playing a full schedule who hasn’t missed a cut. He owns an active streak of 35 consecutive cuts made, by far a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica record. He is also the player with the most top-10s recorded, with nine in 13 starts. Núñez also ranks first in Rounds in the 60s (34), Sub-Par Rounds (40), Total Birdies (229), Par-4 Performance (47-under), Par-5 Performance (113-under) and Birdie to Bogey Ratio (2.67).

    Last year, the extremely consistent Núñez enjoyed a solid performance at Chapelco Golf Club. The 26-year old from Tucuman carded rounds of 74-70-69-67 to tie for 10th. At 8-under for the week, he fell nine strokes shy of champion Clodomiro Carranza.

    Returning to the venue that turned him into a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champion for the second time in his career, Clodomiro Carranza will be another player to watch at Chapelco. The 37-year old from Rio Cuarto was the only player to post four rounds in the 60s last year for a win that resurrected his career. After collecting wins on the Chilean Tour, the Argentine Tour and the Ángel Cabrera minitour over the course of this year, Carranza has been a picture of consistency on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Including a solo-second finish only four weeks ago at the Banco del Pacífico Open in Ecuador and a tie for seventh at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational on Sunday, Carranza has recorded eight top-25s while missing only two cuts in 13 starts.

    Warming up to make his return to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020, Julián Etulain decided to turn this tournament into his first of two consecutive PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts. The 31-year old from Coronel Suarez is coming off his second full PGA TOUR season, where he made the cut in 12 of his 24 tournament starts in 2018-19. With a tie-for-14th finish at the 2018 Safeway Open as his best of two top-25s, Etulain closed the PGA TOUR season ranked 189th on the FedExCup standings. Etulain is a past champion of this event, which he won at Las Praderas de Luján in 2017. He shot 19-under and led for the last 54 holes to collect his fourth career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica win.

    There are 42 players from Argentina in this week’s field, including the winners of the past three tournaments on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule: Augusto Núñez (Banco del Pacífico Open), Leandro Marelli (Diners Club Peru Open) and Alejandro Tosti (Termas de Río Hondo Invitational). This is only the fourth time in Tour history that Argentine players have won at least three tournaments in a row, the first time it has happened since the final stretch of the 2014 season. The following is a look at the Argentine streaks of three or more consecutive wins:

    2012: Five consecutive wins to start the Tour’s inaugural season, by Tommy Cocha (Mundo Maya Open), Ariel Cañete (TransAmerican Power Products Open), Matías O’Curry (Colombia Open), Clodomiro Carranza (Aberto do Brasil) and Alan Wagner (Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational).

    2012: Three consecutive wins to close the Tour’s inaugural season, by Sebastián Fernández (Colombian Coffee Classic), Ariel Cañete (Argentina Classic) and Angel Cabrera (VISA Open de Argentina).

    2014: Three consecutive wins to close the season, by Jorge Fernández Valdés (Abierto de Chile), Fabián Gómez (Argentina Classic) and Emiliano Grillo (VISA Open de Argentina).

    THE TOURNAMENT:

    Launched in 1961, the Neuquén Argentina Classic quickly became a must-play stop for the top players in Argentina. Prior to the arrival of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, its winners featured PGA TOUR champions such as Roberto De Vicenzo, Ángel Cabrera, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Andrés Romero and Fabián Gómez. A key event in the final stretch of the season since joining PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2012, this tournament has been dominated by Argentine players, with Spain’s Samuel Del Val the only exception in 2016. Besides a coveted trophy, as part of its rich tradition the tournament awards its champion a blue jacket. The following are the tournament winners since 2012:

    2012-2018 CHAMPIONS

    Year

    Champion

    Venue

    Scores

    2012

    Ariel Cañete (Argentina)

    Olivos Golf Club

    71-70-67-67—275 (-9)

    2013

    Fabián Gómez (Argentina)

    Reserva Cardales

    67-69-66-67—269 (-19)

    2014

    Fabián Gómez (Argentina)

    Praderas de Luján

    65-65-62—192 (-24)*

    2015

    Fabián Gómez (Argentina)

    Praderas de Luján

    73-61-69-69—272 (-16)

    2016

    Samuel Del Val (Spain)

    Praderas de Luján

    69-66-68—203 (-13)*

    2017

    Julián Etulain (Argentina)

    Praderas de Luján

    66-67-67-69—269 (-19)

    2018

    Clodomiro Carranza (Argentina)

    Chapelco Golf Club

    67-69-66-69—271 (-17)

    GOLF COURSE: Chapelco Golf Club, 7,163 yards, par 72 (36-36).

    In a stunning, natural setting, surrounded by the Andes Mountains in the Argentinean Patagonia, the Chapelco Golf Course left PGA TOUR Latinoamérica competitors in awe during their first visit a year ago. Co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, the 7,163-yard par-72 course opened in 2006 and has built a reputation among the top courses in South America.

    With a scoring average of 72.426 (0.425-over par) at the 2018 Neuquén Argentina Classic, Chapelco Golf Club finished last season as the eighth-toughest among 16 courses that hosted PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events. It also provided the Tour its toughest hole of the season, the 178-yard, par-3 11th playing at 0.494 over par. Last year’s event was the first professional tournament played at the course, with the Tour players recording the course records that stand entering the week.

    72-HOLE RECORD: 271 (17-under), Clodomiro Carranza (2018)

    18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Eric Steger (final round, 2018)

    ZURICH ARGENTINA SWING:

    About to complete its fourth year, the Zurich Argentina Swing is a competition that rewards the player who performs the best in the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments in Argentina. American Tom Whitney has held the lead since his Abierto OSDE del Centro win in April in Cordoba. Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti moved into contention last Sunday with his win at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational. Tosti trails Whitney by $2,165 with only two tournaments remaining.

    Zurich Argentina Swing Standings

    Through 3 of 5 tournaments

    Rank

    Player (Country)

    Earnings US$

    Trailing by

    1

    Tom Whitney (U.S.)

    $36,028

    ----

    2

    Alejandro Tosti (Argentina)

    $33,863

    $2,165

    3

    Andrés Echavarría (Colombia)

    $31,500

    $4,528

    4

    Ryan Ruffels (Australia)

    $21,900

    $21,900

    5

    Andreas Halvorsen (Norway)

    $20,716

    $15,312

    6

    Nicolo Galletti (U.S.)

    $18,900

    $17,128

    7

    Mario Beltrán (Spain)

    $16,564

    $19,464

    8

    Santiago Gómez (Colombia)

    $12,613

    $23,415

    9

    Augusto Núñez (Argentina)

    $12,359

    $23,669

    10

    Clodomiro Carranza (Argentina)

    $11,543

    $24,485

    Besides the cash prize of $10,000 that goes to the player who earns the most money in these five tournaments, Zurich gives back to the community for every birdie and eagle made on the 18th hole at each of the Argentina events. Since 2016, the money raised through this charitable component has gone to Fundación Integrar, an organization focused on providing scholarships to college students in Argentina. Thru three events, a total of 458 birdies and 29 eagles have been recorded.

    Birdies and eagles for education

    Tournament

    Birdies

    Eagles

    Total

    Molino Cañuelas Championship

    185

    13

    198

    Abierto OSDE del Centro

    64

    0

    64

    Termas de Río Hondo

    209

    16

    225

    TOTALS

    458

    29

    487

    PREMIER PARTNERS: As PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Premier Partners, Volvo Car Latin America, Hilton and Go Vacaciones are joining the event for the first time. In this exclusive category, these three partners are integrated into the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica messaging while telling the stories of its players, graduates, tournaments and its participation in the communities where the competitions take place.