October 17, 2008, 10 AM PST–New Las Vegas golfer Nick Watney fired an opening round of 63 at Las Vegas' PGA Tour golf tournament, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and is following that up early in round two as he is already 3-under through six holes and leading the Las Vegas golf event at 12-under par. Watney used some advice from Las Vegas golf pro instructor Butch Harmon, who he spent time with on the range at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin before official play began. There are several other Las Vegas golfers battling for the title as well.
"I actually hadn't seen Butch for about two months, so we had a nice little session on the range trying to get my backswing wider," said Watney following the first round. "Actually, wider on the backswing and the through-swing. It really kind of clicked yesterday. And then we worked really hard on my putting, also. It's been by far the weakest fart of my game this year. Butch took a look at that. I putted great today, but I need to keep working on that for sure."
Harmon operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at located at Rio Secco Golf Club, one of three Las Vegas golf courses operated by Harrah's Golf. The other two Las Vegas golf courses are Cascata and Las Vegas National Golf Club. Harmon has a long list of PGA and LPGA Tour clients, and Watney moved to the Las Vegas area last August to be closer to Harmon. Watney enjoys his new home town, but really loves his play this week, which couldn't come at a better time because entering the tournament he stood at 117th on the money list. And he said that you need to take chances because players will be going low all week.
"The golf course kind of lends itself to that with reachable par-5s and some shorter par-4s, so I think you have a lot of chances to be aggressive," said Watney, who eagled the par 5, 16th hole. "… The conditions are great. I mean, no wind, good greens, and seems to be quite a few wedge shots in the greens. So perfect scoring conditions."
Other Las Vegas golfers challenging for the lead include Ryan Moore and John Riegger, who both opened with rounds of 66; Chad Campbell, who fired a 65; Dean Wilson, who carded a 69; Mike Ruiz, who had a 67; Chris Riley, who ended with a 70; and Tommy Armour III, who fired a 71 but then withdrew from the event.