March 11, 2009–Many of the nation's top collegiate golf programs showcase their talent this weekend at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship, which is hosted by UNLV, the Las Vegas Founders and Southern Highlands Golf Club. The tournament is to be played March 13-15 at Southern Highlands Golf Club in Las Vegas. The public is welcome to attend the tournament and admission is free. From 2004-06, this event was ranked as the top tournament in all of collegiate golf in strength of schedule by Golfweek, thus earning the nickname The Masters of College Golf. LIVE SCORING/RESULTS.
The 2009 version of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship will feature six of the top-10 teams in the country, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Poll, including 11 of the top 25. Participating teams include Arizona, No. 8 Arizona State, Auburn, No. 22 California, Charlotte, No. 4 Clemson, No. 6 Florida, No. 1 Georgia, No. 10 Georgia Tech, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Texas, No. 25 Texas A&M, No. 21 UCLA, UNLV (No. 21 in the coaches' poll) and No. 2 USC. The 54-hole tournament will be played over three days, with tee times beginning at 8 a.m. each morning.
Last year's tournament was won by host UNLV with a 5-over-par score of 869. It marked the seventh time that UNLV has won the event in the last 14 years. Medalist honors were captured by USC's Rory Hie, Georgia's Hudson Swafford and Charlotte's Jonas Enander. Hie won the three-way playoff with a birdie on the 18th hole. UNLV's lineup will consist of Eddie Olson (pictured), Brett Kanda, Derek Ernst, Ji Moon and Colby Smith, while Rebel teammates Jeremiah Wooding and Johnny Pinjuv will be playing as individuals.
On Thursday, March 12, a practice round will be conducted beginning at 9 a.m. After the teams eat lunch, a skills competition will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. Three competitions will take place: short-iron (90-95 yards), long-iron (200 yards) and long-drive. Each school will designate one team member to hit two shots within each category. A winner will be decided through a point system.
Southern Highlands Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Sr., is a prviate course that was recently named as one of Golfweek's Top 100 residential golf courses, coming in at a ranking of 17, the highest for any golf course in the state of Nevada. The club serves as the home course for the UNLV men's golf program and is a past host of Las Vegas' PGA Tour event. In addition, the club has established the Southern Highlands Charitable Foundation that supports such Las Vegas causes as After School All Stars, The Shade Tree, and Opportunity Village, among others.
UNLV is led by Hall-of-Fame golf coach Dwaine Knight who led the Rebels to the 1998 NCAA title. Knight, who is in his 22nd season at the helm of the UNLV men's golf program, has nurtured Rebel golf from near-anonymity to one of the premier programs in the nation. In 1998, he guided the Rebels to their first-ever NCAA crown in Albuquerque, N.M. Knight has taken the Rebels to 16 trips to the national finals and coached them to 12 top-15 finishes over a 15-year span. Under his tutelage, the Rebels earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking in 1993 and following the 1997-98 season, the team finished No. 1 in the nation in all polls.
The Las Vegas Founders, co-hosts of this Las Vegas golf event, have been key players on the Las Vegas golf scene for many years, and as a whole, the group is a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame. The volunteer group operated the Las Vegas PGA Tour event and Champions Tour event in Las Vegas for many years, and are generally credited with helping to establish UNLV golf as a national power and also helping to create the UNLV Women's Golf Program. In addition, the Las Vegas Founders have generated more than $12 million dollars for Las Vegas-area charities. In 2007, the PGA Tour announced that the Las Vegas Founders would no longer operate Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, the Justin Timblerlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, a move that came with little warning to the Founders' executive committee.