Augusto Núñez takes outright 18-hole lead at The Ascendant presented by Blue

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Augusto Núñez (pronounced ow-GOOS-toh NOON ehz) birdied his final hole and carded a 6-under 66, giving him a one-stroke lead over six players tied at 5-under par after the first round of The Ascendant presented by Blue. The Yerba Buena, Argentina native was the only player in the field who posted a bogey-free round at TPC Colorado Thursday, leading to his first outright 18-hole lead on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Núñez’s flawless round was highlighted by a hole-out eagle at the par-4 third, followed by back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 as he reached 4-under par through his first six holes. 

“I made an eagle on No. 3 that was huge,” Núñez said. “That really helped my confidence. I chipped it in from 50 yards and that triggered the rest of my round.”

The 29-year-old circled another birdie at the par-4 12th, and took the outright lead with a near hole-out eagle at the par-4 18th.

“I felt really comfortable all day,” Núñez said. “I was comfortable off the tee and getting good numbers for my second shots. I was fighting the putter a little bit, but I’m happy with the round and happy with my birdie on No. 18.”

Núñez turned professional in 2012, playing predominately on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for the first five years of his career, highlighted by a win in 2016. Núñez finished No. 2 on the 2016 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit, granting him Korn Ferry Tour membership for 2017.

As a Korn Ferry Tour rookie, Núñez recorded four top-25s, including a T2 at the 2017 Corales Puntacana Championship, en route to a No. 53 finish the money list and fully exempt status the following year.

With nine made cuts in 20 starts in 2018, Núñez lost his Korn Ferry Tour status, forcing a return to PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for 2019. Núñez won twice and tallied two runner-up finishes as he won the Order of Merit and earned fully exempt status for what became the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour season. Núñez played all 43 regular season events but finished 76th on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, missing the last spot in Korn Ferry Tour Finals and fully exempt status for this season by 4.223 points.

Relegated to Final Stage of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, Núñezfinished T19 last November for guaranteed starts in the first eight events of this season.

In 17 starts this season, Núñez has six top-10s, highlighted by a T3 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX just three weeks ago. The Buenos Aires resident entered the week ranked No. 16 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List.

“I started out as a caddie in Argentina,” Núñez said. “I just kept my head down, worked hard and dreamed big. It would have been hard to imagine being where I’m at now. It feels surreal to me, but I want to enjoy it as much as I can. I want to keep working hard because there’s still a long way to go.”

Second-round tee times will from 6:30 a.m. through 2:07 p.m. local time off the first and 10th tees.