Las Vegas PGA Tour Golf Host Justin Timberlake ‘Wins’ US Open Challenge

Timberlake (l) with '08 Las Vegas Champ Marc Turnesa

Timberlake (l) with '08 Las Vegas Champ Marc Turnesa June 15, 2009–Last year, Justin Timberlake, host of Las Vegas' PGA Tour golf event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, fired a 98 at Torrey Pines, last year's US Open course, but finished strong to break 100. This year, Timberlake was the only returning golfer in the foursome of the Golf Digest US Open Challenge, an event that pits three celebrities and an amateur contest winner against that year's US Open golf course in an attempt to break 100. Timberlake again finished strong, but this time beat his goal of breaking 90–in essence, winning–by recording an 88, according to the official report from the USGA. This year will mark the second time that Timberlake hosts his PGA Tour event at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin. 

In 2008, Timberlake's caddie was Las Vegas' Butch Harmon, who operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club, but this year it was PGA Tour star Anthony Kim who grabbed the bag duties. The Harmon School and Rio Secco Golf Club are both open to the public.  Rio Secco is one of two Las Vegas golf courses operated by Harran's Golf that was designed by the "US Open Doctor" Rees Jones. Leading up to the Challenge, Timberlake spoke to the USA Today about his strategy, where his playing partners included Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger and Larry Giebelhausen.

"He (Harmon) told me ways to maximize my practice time: He has some stuff for me to work on," Timberlake told USA Today writer Steve Dimeglio, while mentioning that finding time to practice with his busy schedule was difficult. "And to make everything I do in practice count. But honestly, I just have to see how fast the greens are. It comes down to a putting contest. You have to get a feel on and around the greens to have a shot in this." You can watch this event on NBC on Sunday, prior to the final round of the actual US Open.

Roethisberger, who was in Las Vegas about a month ago as a host for Tiger Woods' fundraiser, Tiger Jam, hit some long drives and was the man with the Challenge's lowest score, shooting an 81, just days after Tiger Woods reportedly told him that he had no chance to break the goal of 100. Jordan fired an 86 while the amateur, a 3.6 handicap, shot 101.

Timberlake, who parred two of the final three holes, gained another level of respect for the PGA Tour players who have to walk the course each day. "Last year (at Torrey Pines) the fairways looked like bowling lanes,” he said in the official USGA story. “Everywhere here was a bit of challenge, because I’m not used to putting on greens this fast. But the biggest difference was the walk. It’s more hilly here. Torrey was flatter. I can play a show for three hours straight and not feel as tired as I am walking this course in six hours. My legs started to give out. That’s where so much respect comes in. These pro guys do this four times a week. If I did that, I’d need some kind of leg surgery.”

The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is to be played October 15-18, when Marc Turnesa is scheduled to defend his title. The par-72, 7243 yard TPC Summerlin course was designed by Bobby Weed and player consultant Fuzzy Zoeller. TPC Summerlin has been honored by Golf Digest as one of "America's Best" golf courses, and the course ranks as one of the "Top 100 Modern Golf Courses in the United States".

 

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