November 6, 2009–The PGA Tour, basically, is in China this weekend for the playing of a World Golf event, the HSBC Champions, but even across the globe the impact of Las Vegas golf and Las Vegas golfers is being felt. First off, Las Vegas resident Nick Watney blazed a new golf course record (64) during the first round of the tournament, then played solid golf to remain in a tie with Tiger Woods entering the third round. Plus, Ryan Moore, the former resident and 4-time All-American at UNLV, is in the mix as is Phil Mickelson, who like Watney, fine tunes his swing with Las Vegas' Butch Harmon at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club. LIVE SCORING.
Watney moved to the Las Vegas area about two years ago, and finished the season ranked 12th on the FedEx Cup money list, and spent a few days last week playing in the Butch Harmon/Greg Maddux Celebrity Invitational at Las Vegas golf course Spanish Trail Country Club. Watney spends much of his time in Las Vegas at the Butch Harmon School of Golf and Las Vegas resort golf course Rio Secco Golf Club, where the School is located. Watney is a PGA Tour champion and is looking for another victory, but is also taking in the sites of China, specifically Shangai.
"Well, it seems like there's a lot (more people)," said Watney, when asked about the differences of the United States and China. "This is probably the biggest city I've ever been in. I live in Las Vegas and there's probably maybe two million people there, and I heard there's 18 here, 18 million here. So I think this is the biggest city I've ever been in. Apart from I guess the food, it's just a big city. I can't tell any major differences." Watney had recorded rounds of 64-70 entering the third round, where he would be paried with Tiger Woods, a former pupil of Harmon.
The Las Vegas area is home to more than 50 world class Las Vegas golf courses including two designed by Rees Jones. Jones designed Rio Secco Golf Club, home of the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge that is being played in Las Vegas November 10, and also Cascata, a Las Vegas golf course that ZAGAT readers have rated as one of the best in the world. Both Cascata and Rio Secco are operated by Harrah's Entertainment. Click now to view the official websites of Rio Secco Golf Club and Cascata, where you can reserve your official Las Vegas golf tee times and Las Vegas golf packages.
Moore, who won the 2004 NCAA Championship and U.S. Amateur while attending UNLV, lived in the Las Vegas area for a time before moving, is also enjoying his time in China, specifically at Sheshan International Country Club, where the event is being played. "I really like the golf course to be honest," Morre told reporters following the round. "The greens are just phenomenal. I think these are certainly one of the best, if not the best greens, I think I've putted on all year. These are just fantastic. I'm just enjoying it. I'm having a great time and it's a fun tournament." Moore had fired rounds of 66-69 and was in a tie for third entering the third round. He now and splits residencies between the Seattle area and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Mickelson started working with Harmon a little over a year ago, and credits the swing coach with much of his recent success (winning the Tour Championship) and says he would have had even more success had his putting and short game been as good as the full swing that he honed under Harmon's guidance. While in China, Mickelson is checking on a couple of golf course projects that he is designing in the area in addition to playing some quality golf. Mickelson fired rounds of 69-66 and was in a tie for third entering the third round. Quotes via ASAPSports.com.