May 5, 2009–Thus far, 2009 has been a pretty big year in professional golf for players who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. Currently, there are more than two dozen pro golfers on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Nationwide Tour and LPGA Tour that either live here, played collegiately at UNLV, grew up here or lived here for a long period. 2008 U.S. Women's Open Champion Inbee Park (pictured) played high school golf in Las Vegas and is just one of no fewer than 29 golf stars listed on official money lists who have ties to Golf's Ultimate City. The following guide will educate and allow you to easily click to the official profiles and official player websites for our favorite Tour players.
The guide is listed in alphabetical order, with 2009 official tour affiliation status. But to give you an idea of the depth of Las Vegas golf talent, before we get to the nitty, gritty guide, here is a listing of golfers with strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses: Tommy Armour III, Bob May, Natalie Gulbis, Stephanie Louden, Seung Su Han, Adam Scott, Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman, Kim Hall, Erica Blasberg, Charlotte Mayorkas, Bill Lunde, Craig Barlow, Dean Wilson, Robert Gamez, Alex Cejka, Nick Watney, Jim Colbert, Jeremy Anderson, Andres Gonzales, Chris Riley, Inbee Park, Alex Prugh, Chad Campbell, Skip Kendall, Scott Piercy, and others.
Tommy Armour III, PGA Tour, grew up on the fairways of the old Desert Inn Country Club, and was a standout golfer at Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School before moving on to play for current UNLV Head Golf Coach Dwaine Knight at the University of New Mexico. Armour III holds the PGA Tour's all-time scoring record, fired at the 2003 Valero Texas Open. He fired rounds of 64-62-63-65–254 to set the low total in PGA Tour history. He also fired a 60 during the 1999 Las Vegas Invitational, tied for the second-lowest in PGA Tour history. He is known for his fun-loving ways in addition to his excellent golf, and he is also the grandson of World Golf Hall of Famer Tommy Armour. Armour III is a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame class of 2008. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Craig Barlow, Nationwide Tour, is a Las Vegas native and former Southern Nevada Golf Association Player of the Year. Barlow has struggled with injuries for much of his PGA Tour career, but has played on the big tour for about a dozen years. In 2009, he is official exempt on the Nationwide Tour and is working his way back to the PGA Tour. Barlow had earned nearly $5 million in his PGA Tour career entering this season. About injuries that plagued him in his career: "It's been frustrating, but I promised myself through this whole thing that I was going to be patient. It's hard to perform against the best golfers in the world when your body is not allowing you to do it." As a child. served as standard bearer for the PGA Tour's Las Vegas Invitational. Later, worked on tournament operations staff. Ranked fifth in Nevada as a high school tennis player in 1990. Worked at Pizza Hut for five years before playing on PGA TOUR. Barlow now plays and practices at Cascata. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Erica Blasberg, LPGA Tour, moved to Las Vegas a few years ago following an All-American golf career at the University of Arizona. She won six times in college and was the 2003 PAC 10 Player of the Year. She has played the LPGA Tour for five years and now practices out of Las Vegas' Southern Highlands Golf Club. She has earned more than $300,000 during her LPGA Tour career. Click now for ericablasberg.com.
Chad Campbell, PGA Tour, nearly won the 2009 Masters, but is one of the more accomplished PGA Tour stars with deep ties to Las Vegas. Campbell was an All-American at UNLV from 1995-96, and has gone on to huge success on golf's biggest tour. Through 2009, he was a three-time United States Ryder Cup team member and had earned more than $17 million during his PGA Tour career. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Alex Cejka, PGA Tour, is arguably the most traveled PGA Tour player with ties to Las Vegas. Cejka fled the Czech Republic as a child, landing in Germany, but several years ago moved to Laughlin, Nevada, a river gambling town located about 90 miles south of Las Vegas. Cejka than made the move to the Las Vegas area where he plays and practices out of TPC Las Vegas, as many other Las Vegas pros do. Cejka is a veteran PGA Tour player, but is still looking for his first PGA Tour win. He does have 11 international victories and had earned more than $5.5 million during his PGA Tour career. “I feel very comfortable in a lot of places,” said Cejka. “But there is no airport in Laughlin, and I grew tired of the long drive back and forth to the airport in Las Vegas. I had played TPC Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin, and I grew to love the area so I decided to make the move here.” Click now for his official PGA Tour profile, or if you speak German, for alex-cejka.com.
Jim Colbert, Champions Tour, is a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame, and is one of the most influential members of the Las Vegas golf community. While he no longer lives in the area, Colbert's impact on the Las Vegas golf community is everlasting. He was instrumental in bringing the PGA Tour back to Las Vegas in 1983, and helped form the Las Vegas Founders Club, who, in turn, helped raise more than $13 million for Las Vegas charitable organizations. Colbert won the 1995 and 1996 Las Vegas Senior Classic events, becoming the first Vegas resident to win an officially-sanctioned PGA Tour event in Las Vegas, and was a Senior Player of the Year. He is still is active on the Champions Tour. Ran his own golf course management company, Jim Colbert Golf, prior to joining the Champions Tour, and one of the courses he operated was Las Vegas Golf Club and the old Sunrise Country Club. Click now for his official Champions Tour profile.
Jeff Gallagher, Nationwide Tour, is a pro golf veteran who has played in more than 125 PGA Tour events, earning more than $800,000, in addition to playing in more than 250 Nationwide Tour events, earning more than $500,000. His older brother is Jim Gallagher, Jr., of the PGA TOUR and sister is Jackie Gallagher-Smith of the LPGA. Lists qualifying for the 1996 PGA TOUR season as his biggest thrill in golf. Gallagher is continually offering his services to area charities and is seen practicing at DragonRidge Country Club and Souther Highlands Golf Club. He has won two Nationwide Tour events. Click now for his official Nationwide Tour profile.
Robert Gamez, Nationwide Tour, is a native of Las Vegas who now lives in Florida. Gamez was a former Southern Nevada Golf Association Player of the Year, and then went on to the University of Arizona where he was named the College Player of the Year in 1989. He was the Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour in 1990 when he won twice. Gamez is now trying to earn back official status on the PGA Tour, but entering 2009 had won three PGA Tour events and earned more than $8.5 million in his career. Gamez is a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame. Click now for his unofficial website, RobertGamezProAm.com. Or click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Natalie Gulbis, LPGA Tour, lives on the fairways of the Jack Nicklaus-designed Reflection Bay Golf Club, at Lake Las Vegas Resort, and is a Las Vegas favorite. She is involved with area charities and has annually teed it up in the made-for-tv Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge that has been played at Lake Las Vegas and now is hosted by Rio Secco Golf Club. Gulbis is an LPGA Tour champion and a stalwart on the US Solheim Cup team, and is a golf star with crossover appeal. She sells calendars, had her own reality show on the Golf Channel, and she recently appeared on Donald Trump's Apprentice on NBC. Gulbis works with Las Vegas' Butch Harmon, and has earned more than $3.6 million during her LPGA Tour career. Click now for nataliegulbis.com.
Kim Hall, LPGA Tour, moved to Las Vegas a few years ago and is married to former Las Vegas amateur standout Casey Hall. Kim attended Stanford with fellow Las Vegas golfer and LPGA Tour player Stephanie Louden. She has played the LPGA Tour since 2006 and is active in several charitable organizations. She has earned more than $330,000 in her LPGA Tour career. She played at Stanford from 1999-2003, where she All-Pac 10 three times, and a Stanford MVP twice. Click now for her official LPGA Tour profile.
Seung-Su Han, Nationwide Tour, is the most recent UNLV golfer to turn professional. Han earned status on the 2009 Nationwide Tour via his finish at the 2008 PGA Tour Q School, and decided to forego the rest of his amateur career at UNLV for a shot at golf's big time. Han played for UNLV from 2005-08, earning recognition as an All-Mountain West performer in 2007-08. "He is one of the best players we have ever had," said UNLV Head Coach Dwaine Knight. "His overall knowledge of the game and fundamentals are very strong and he has had a lot of success." Click now for his official Nationwide Tour profile.
Charley Hoffman, PGA Tour, played on the 1998 UNLV golf team, coached by Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Dwaine Knight, that won the NCAA Championship. Also on that team was fellow PGA Tour players Bill Lunde and Jeremy Anderson. Hoffman, a studen of Shawn Callahan at the Harmon School, won the 2007 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and nearly won the FBR Open in Phoenix earlier this season. Hoffman has earned more than $4.8 million in his four seasons on the PGA Tour. Hoffman, who grew up in San Diego, is known as much for his surfer blonde hair as he is for his golf talent, adds a welcome spice to the PGA Tour. "I guess I do it just to sort of be different than everybody else out here," says Hoffman, who practice at TPC Las Vegas, a Las Vegas resort golf course. "I don't like being the same as everybody else. And I'm just sort of a free spirit, playing some golf. And I guess it's just me, the way I am." Click now for the official PGA Tour profile for Charley Hoffman. You can also visit charleyhoffman.com.
Amy Hung, LPGA Tour, plays out of Las Vegas' DragonRidge Country Club. She has played the LPGA Tour since 2004 and has earned more than $650,000 in her career. Her official biography notes that she won more than 50 junior and amateur events before turning professional. Click now for her official website.
Skip Kendall, Nationwide Tour, was UNLV golf before UNLV golf was UNLV golf. He played at UNLV before current Hall-of-fame Coach Dwaine Knight brought the school to prominence, but has cut out a very nice career on the PGA Tour. Kendall had never won a PGA Tour event entering 2009, but has earned more than $7.5 million on the PGA Tour and more than $740,000 on the Nationwide Tour, where has earned a victory. In 2009, Kendall is partially exempt on the PGA Tour and was listed on both the money lists of the Nationwide and PGA Tour. Kendall played at UNLV from 1982-86. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Stephanie Louden, LPGA Tour, is a Las Vegas native who now lives in Texas. She is an LPGA Tour veteran who has earned more than $600,000 during her LPGA Tour career. She has also served on the LPGA Tour's executive committee and is a graduate of Stanford. She was inducted into the 2007 Southern Nevada Junior Golf Hall of Fame. A four-time All American at Stanford University, she traveled to England as a member of the 2000 Curtis Cup United States Team. Just a year after graduation, she qualified for the LPGA tour on her first attempt. Louden has been on the tour for the past seven years, finishing eight times within the Top 20. She led her high school to the state title. Click now for her official LPGA Tour profile.
Bill Lunde, PGA Tour, lives very close to Hoffman, is another former UNLV All-American, but his path to the PGA Tour was a challenge. Two years ago, Lunde quit the game and went to work for the Las Vegas Founders, the organization that operated Las Vegas' PGA Tour event. But that group ended its relationship with the PGA Tour and forced Lunde back into golf. He joined and dominated the Butch Harmon Vegas Tour, a now defunct mini-tour. Lunde then qualified through Q-School for the 2008 Nationwide Tour season and earned his PGA Tour card for 2009 after finishing 5th on the money list. Lunde also won an event on the Nationwide Tour. Lunde, who struggled with attitude issues in his former golf career, credits a round with Charley Hoffman and a few other Las Vegas pros at TPC Las Vegas, for rejuvenating his golf career. "I remember talking to him, kind of a good story about it, the guys in Vegas, they always said, 'hey, let's go play' and I said, 'no, I don't want to play golf, you guys have fun'," says Lunde. "One day they got me out there and me not being able to practice, my only goal is to beat everybody. I'm not hitting balls and these guys are out practicing and I went out there shot 66, beat everybody, didn't even miss a shot. At one point in the round, Charley was my partner, so he was even loving it more than I was. He goes, amazing what attitude does, doesn't it?" Click now for the official PGA Tour profile of Bill Lunde.
Bob May, Nationwide Tour, is a veteran of the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour, who many remember for his battle with Tiger Woods at the 2000 PGA Championship. May has battled back issues for many years, and is currently playing the Nationwide Tour in hopes of resurrecting his PGA Tour career. He has earned more than $3.4 million in his PGA Tour career. Introduced to golf by aunt and uncle, then spent time at Big Tee Golf Center in Buena Park, CA, where he picked up range balls and in return was allowed to hit them back out. At age 11 began taking lessons from legendary Eddie Merrins, the long-time head pro at Bel Air CC in Los Angeles. May's father, Jerry, who owned a gas station, would drive Bob every Sunday for 7 a.m. lesson with Merrins, an hour from the May's home in La Habra. At age 16, qualified to play in 1985 Los Angeles Open. May practices out of TPC Las Vegas. Click now for his official Nationwide Tour profile.
Charlotte Mayorkas, LPGA Tour, moved to Las Vegas a few years ago and plays and practices at TPC Las Vegas. Charlotte earned her LPGA Tour card by finishing second on the Futures Tour money list in 2006. She won twice and led the Futures Tour in scoring average. In 2005, Charlotte finished 16th on the Futures Tour money list despite playing in just 10 events (about half the season). Prior to turning pro, Charlotte was a three-time All-America selection at UCLA, the PAC-10 Player of the Year in 2004, and PAC-10 individual champion in 2004. She first played the LPGA Tour in 2007 and has earned about $300,000 in her career. She won twice on the Duramed Futures Tour in 2006. Click now for her official LPGA Tour profile.
Ryan Moore, PGA Tour, is now mentioned as having one of the best amateur seasons in the history of golf. In 2004, Moore, who played at UNLV from 2001-05, won the NCAA Title, US Amateur, the US Public Links Amateur, the Western Amateur, and the Sahalee Players Championship. All of those events are considered 'majors' on the amateur circuit. Moore now plays the PGA Tour where he has earned more than $5 million in his career. Moore lived for a time in the Southern Highlands community after graduating from UNLV. The area is home to Southern Highlands Golf Club, the official home course for UNLV golf. Moore has since moved back to his native pacific northwest. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Kevin Na, PGA Tour, has recently moved to Las Vegas, and is the latest addition to this list that seems to grow on a daily basis. Na lives in Summerlin and plays and practices at TPC Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin. He said the following about Las Vegas at THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP. "I like the golf course there," said Na. "The TPC at Summerlin is a great golf course. We have the Justin Timberlake tournament there. It's just a great place to practice. The Canyons, now called TPC Las Vegas, has a great driving range. They're both good golf courses, and that was a big reason why. And Vegas has a good airport where you can fly direct, also. I'm not much of a gambler, so that's one of the reasons why I can move there. If I was a gambler I probably wouldn't." Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
James Oh, PGA Tour, played at UNLV in 2000-01, and then moved on quickly to play on the Asian Tour. He only played the one year at UNLV but had four top-10 finishes in 10 tournament starts, including a T4 at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate in Honolulu. Oh won the 2003 Mark Christopher Charity Classic shortly after turning professional, and earned exempt status on the PGA Tour with a 7th-place finish at the 2008 Q School. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Inbee Park, LPGA Tour, is the first pro golfer with strong ties to Las Vegas to win a major championship. Park, who won two state high school championships while attending Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman, won the 2008 US Open. "I feel very, very happy," said Park following the US Women's Open win. "I really don't know what's happening right now. I have no idea what's happening right now. I am very honored to win this championship as a first win for my career. And hopefully there will be a lot more coming up. But I'm very honored and this is a very special tournament for me and I won't forget this moment." Click now for her official LPGA Tour profile.
Scott Piercy, PGA Tour, is a Las Vegas native who made his mark as a junior golfer and high school golfer in the Las Vegas area, before attending San Diego State University. Piercy helped lead his Bonanza HS team to the 1996 state title. ONe of Piercy's biggest professional wins also came on Las Vegas' fairways when he won the 2007 Ultimate Game at WYNN Las Vegas, and collected the $2 million top prize for he and his sponsors. Piercy went on to win twice on the 2008 Nationwide Tour and now plays on the PGA Tour in 2009. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile page.
Alex Prugh, Nationwide Tour, is one of the newest Las Vegas residents who plays high caliber golf for a living. Prugh now practices at TPC Las Vegas, and he won the 2009 Michael Hill New Zealand Open, and was ranked 4th on the Nationwide Tour money list after seven events, giving him a terrific shot at earning official PGA Tour status for 2010. He lists playing in the U.S. Open as his biggest thrill in golf. Says golfer Andres Gonzales is his hero. He got his start in golf from his dad, who was an amateur/college teammate of Las Vegas golf author Jack Sheehan. Click now for his official Nationwide Tour profile.
John Riegger, Nationwide Tour, is a Las Vegas resident who loves the outdoors. Riegger has played in more than 200 PGA Tour events, earning more than $2 million, plus he has teed it up in more than 100 Nationwide Tour events, earning more than $500,000. Grew up in Southern Illinois, across the Ohio River from PGA TOUR players Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry, who live in Paducah, KY. Five-time U.S. Open 9-ball champion Earl Strickland caddied for Riegger at the 2000 Wichita Open. Says he plays golf because it gives him time to duck hunt. Click now for his official website via Gaylord Sports.
Chris Riley, PGA Tour, was the first 4-time All-American in the history of UNLV athletics. Riley played at UNLV from 1992-96, and graduated with a degree in communications. He believes earning the degree is one of the biggest accomplishments in his life. Riley won the 2002 Reno-Tahoe Open and is a past member of the US Ryder Cup team. He lived in Las Vegas for many years with his wife Michelle and two kids, but recently started spending more time in his native San Diego area. Riley still says he spends time in Las Vegas living and practicing. He has earned nearly $10 million in his PGA Tour career, and is known as one of the best putters in the game. Click now for his official PGA Tour profile.
Adam Scott, PGA Tour, is arguably the biggest star of the golfers with Las Vegas golf ties who play the major tours. Scott is a multiple-time PGA Tour and international tour champion, who attended UNLV but also still spends a lot of time here in Las Vegas because he works with Butch Harmon. Scott played at UNLV in 1998-99, and is a past champion of THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP on the PGA Tour. "The golf program at UNLV played a big part in my golf education, and helping me to prepare for life on Tour," Scott, from Australia, has said in the past. "Great facilities to use, great competition to play in and great friends made. I look back at my time at UNLV and have great memories." Click now for Adam's official website.
Nick Watney, PGA Tour, moved to Las Vegas a couple years ago to be closer to Las Vegas' Butch Harmon, Golf Digest's #1 golf instructor, and to take advantage of the easy airport access. Watney is a two-time PGA Tour champion who was a star at Fresno State. The year 2009 marks Watney's 5th full season on the PGA Tour, where he has earned more than $6.6 million through March. Click now for the official PGA Tour profile of Nick Watney. Watney on living in Las Vegas: “It was all part of a business decision because Harmon lives in Vegas and I wanted to be closer to him, and it’s easier to catch flights out of Vegas than Fresno. Plus, I wanted to stay on the west coast. I’m from California and my family lives in California, and I’m only an hour flight away from them. So it made a lot of sense to me.” Rio Secco Golf Club, home of the Harmon School and a Rees Jones design, is one of three Las Vegas golf courses operated by Harrah's Golf.
Dean Wilson, PGA Tour, moved to the Las Vegas area several years ago but enjoys the courses, weather and access to the airport. Wilson is one of the many who play and practice at TPC Las Vegas, and Wilson lives in the Summerlin area near the course. Wilson is a native of Hawaii, and won the 2006 Internation event on the PGA Tour. He is also a 6-time Japan Tour champion. Click now for DeanWilsonGolf.com.