Blazing back nine gives Núñez unexpected lead
November 16, 2019
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- November 16, 2019
- Augusto Núñez carded a bogey-free 63 to claim the 54-lead at the 114th VISA Open de Argentina presented by Macro in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Augusto Núñez holds a U.S. $28,987 lead on the Order of Merit. With one round to play at the 114th edition of the VISA Open de Argentina presented by Macro, Núñez could lock up the money title as his solid play Saturday has put him in that position. The Argentine shot a best-of-the-day, 7-under 63 to take the solo lead, at 11-under, going into the final round of the final full-field PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament of the 2019 season. He leads Jonathan Garrick and 36-hole leader Jared Wolfe by a shot.
Although he has plenty of work still to do, the $31,500 Núñez would win should he go on to victory would make it mathematically impossible for any player to catch him at the season-ending Shell Championship in Miami in three weeks.
When the third round began, Wolfe held a commanding, five-shot cushion, with Núñez in the chasing position. It didn’t take Garrick and Núñez long to erase that deficit, Garrick catching his playing partner, Wolfe, after 10 holes. While Garrick faded following his eagle at No. 10, playing his final eight holes in 1-over, Núñez just kept chipping away.
Núñez was solid, if not spectacular, on his front nine, making seven pars and two birdies. It was on the back nine where he made up ground—in a hurry. After playing the back nine of the Jockey Club in even-par over his first two rounds, Núñez made four consecutive birdies, starting at No. 10, and added one more at the 15th before parring in.
“I am in a place where I feel comfortable, and I like to be there,” Núñez said of holding the lead. “I have to enjoy being in this position on such a spectacular course.”
His birdie at No. 10 was an up-and-down on the par-5, he made a 12-footer for birdie on 11 and a 30-footer at the par-3 12th. His last birdie of the run was another bomb, from 20 feet. He had a good look for five birdies in succession, but he missed from nine feet on No. 14.
For the first day of the tournament, weather played a factor in the play, as rain descended on the historic Jockey Club before clearing in the afternoon. As the weather improved, so, too, did Núñez’s game.
“I didn’t hit it that well from the tee on the front nine, but I putted well, and that is the key on this course. On the back (nine), I hit it more solid from the tee and that led me the chances I had.”Ver esta publicación en Instagram
¡Augusto! 👏🏼 Una ronda sin bogeys de 63 (-7) catapultó a @augustomartinnunez 🇦🇷 a la cima del tablero de líderes del #VISAopenbyMacro. El número uno del #pgatourla llegó a -11 y con 18 hoyos por jugar tiene un golpe de ventaja sobre Garrick y Wolfe. Augusto Núñez 🇦🇷 holds a one-shot lead heading into Sunday at the #VISAopenbyMacro. The PGA TOUR Latinoamérica No. 1 carded a bogey-free 63 to make his charge this Saturday at the Jockey Club. • #ZurichArgentinaSwing #Volvo #Hilton #GoVacaciones
Did you know? Tom Whitney is in solid position to win the Zurich Argentina Swing? When the week began, Whitney held a $17,186 lead over No. 2 Alejandro Tosti. With 18 holes to play in the VISA Open de Argentina presented by Macro, Tosti is tied for 29th, at 1-under, while Whitney is a stroke ahead, tied for 19th. The player with the most money earned in the five Argentina-based events wins a $10,000 bonus. In order for Tosti to pass Whitney, he would need to win the tournament or finish solo second and have Whitney falter.
This is the third time this season that Augusto Núñez has held a lead at the end of a round. He was the 18-hole leader at the 66 JHSF Aberto do Brasil, thanks to an opening 61. He also was the 54-hole leader at the Banco del Pacifico Open. He turned that two-shot lead into a six-shot triumph, his only win of the year.
Augusto Núñez is looking to become the first player with multiple wins this season. Fourteen different players have won tournaments this season.
The third-round leader has only converted his lead into a win four times in 13 previous tournaments. The last to do so was Augusto Núñez at the Banco Del Pacifico Open. The other 54-hole leaders to win this season are Jared Wolfe (Buenaventura Classic), Evan Harmeling (BMW Jamaica Classic) and Chandler Blanchet (São Paulo GC Championship).
First-round leader Victor Lange has had an interesting tournament. Following his first-round 63, the South African was 11 strokes worse in the second round, shooting a 74. Lange recovered with a 1-under 69 Saturday, and he will enter the final round tied for 12th.
Argentina’s Aram Yenidejan and Abel Gallegos are tied for low-amateur honors through 54 holes. They’re both at 3-over and tied for 55th. The other amateur to make the cut, Vicente Marzilio, is alone in 72nd place. He is 8-over after a 6-over 76 Saturday.
Augusto Núñez as the tournament leader is obviously the low Argentine this week. Twenty-three others made the cut. Those currently inside the top 20 are Clodomiro Carranza (tied for fourth), Paulo Pinto (tied for 16th) and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and Tommy Cocha (tied for 19th).
Defending champion Isidro Benítez has been slowly working his way up the leaderboard. He began with a first-round, 1-over 71, shot a 69 in the second round and then was superb Saturday, firing a 64 to move into solo seventh, five shots off Augusto Núñez’s lead.
The winner of this tournament automatically receives an invitation to play in the 2020 Open Championship on the PGA TOUR’s 2019-20 FedExCup schedule.
Argentines have won each of the last four PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments. Augusto Núñez is one of them, capturing the Banco del Pacífico Open. The others are Leandro Marelli (Diners Club Peru Open), Alejandro Tosti (Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational) and Puma Domínguez (Neuquén Argentina Classic)Ver esta publicación en Instagram
En la emocionante Ronda 3 del 114º #VISAopenbyMacro hubo mucho movimiento en el tablero de líderes. Jugadores como @miritocarranza 🇦🇷 Jonathan Garrick 🇺🇸 y el líder @augustomartinnunez 🇦🇷 hicieron algunos de los mejores tiros del día. Today’s third round was an exciting one at the 114th #VISAopenbyMacro. Making their move up the leaderboard, Clodomiro Carranza, @jonathan_garrick and tournament leader Augusto Núñez provided some of the best shots of the day at the Jockey Club. • #ZurichArgentinaSwing #Volvo #Hilton #GoVacaciones
“It’s a nice thing. There are many people who follow you, and playing in front of the public is a difficult thing for a player. But lately I’m feeling comfortable, and I hope that [Sunday] many people come to the Jockey Club and enjoy good golf.” –Augusto Núñez
“Since I left the first tee, and especially from the 10th tee on, a lot of people began to follow me. It makes me happy to enjoy the applause of people and also a little boy who encouraged me in each hole. He gave me strength and reminded me of my daughter, and that gave me strength to stay happy.” –Augusto Núñez
“Tomorrow I will continue to do the same: enjoy people, this tournament and this course. You have to play relaxed and enjoy the public.” –Augusto Núñez
“I thought generally I handled myself very well. I got off to a good start, which always helps.” –Jonathan Garrick
“I’m pretty excited. I just wanted to get in the final group, basically. It was a pretty cool environment, even on the back nine when the weather got good and the fans started to come out. I expect [Sunday] to be like that if not more. I just wanted to be in that environment and have a chance to win.” –Jonathan Garrick
“A lot of the holes coming back toward the clubhouse played really long because of the rain and the wind. There were definitely some holes that played tougher.” –Jonathan Garrick
“Even the downwind holes weren’t that much easier just because of the way the pins were. They generally played a little tougher.” –Jonathan Garrick
“Today was a struggle for me. I didn’t have the same feelings I’ve had the last two days, and the golf club didn’t feel the same in my hands.” –Jared Wolfe
“I putted OK, and I had some good par saves. It could have been a lot uglier.” –Jared Wolfe
“I just didn’t put myself in any position to make birdies like I did the last two days. After the last six weeks, if you had told me I would be going into the final round one (stroke) behind, would I take it? Absolutely.” –Jared Wolfe
“I’ll be chasing probably the hottest player in the world right now, Augusto Núñez. But we have so much to play for with 18 holes left with hopefully good weather and a good crowd and good atmosphere.” –Jared Wolfe
“Hopefully I can get back to the form I had Thursday and Friday.” –Jared Wolfe