October 17, 2009–Las Vegas resident and PGA Tour player Craig Barlow once said that winning the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas would be as big as winning a major championship to him. Unfortunately, Barlow, a new Dad, won't win this week because he missed the cut, but a scan of the leaderboard at the halfway point of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open showed that four of the first eight golfers listed on the leaderboard had very strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. Never in history has a player with deep Las Vegas golf ties hoisted the trophy. LIVE SCORING.
Former UNLV All-American Chad Campbell shared the 36-hole lead with 2006 champ Troy Matteson after a blistering round of 62 on Friday. Campbell played with fellow UNLV All-American Ryan Moore, and nipped Moore by a shot, amazingly, when Moore settled for an 8-under par 63. Moore was in a tie for 3rd entering the third round. New Las Vegas resident Ricky Fowler was in a tie for 7th with Las Vegas resident Scott Piercy, those two rounding out the Fabulous Four from Las Vegas. Also lurking in a tie for 7th was honorary Las Vegas golfer Jim Furyk, who earned that status by winning this event three times (1995, 1998 and 1999).
In all there are no fewer than 30 professionals who now play golf's major tours who live in Las Vegas, have lived in Las Vegas for a substantial amount of time, or played golf at UNLV. Starting the week, there were no fewer than 14 Las Vegas golfers who teed it up in this Las Vegas golf tournament being played at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin. The Las Vegas area is home to more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses, including two fun golf courses in Boulder City, located about 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Boulder Creek Golf Club is 27 Las Vegas golf holes played through the native desert and designed by Mark Rathert, while Boulder City Golf Course is old school, fun golf played at a great rate on a course shadowed by hundreds of trees. Click now to view the brand new official website and reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times at Boulder Creek or Boulder City.
Campbell, who came to UNLV when Tiger Woods decided to attend Stanford as opposed to play for the Rebels and Head Coach Dwaine Knight, spoke, unofficially, for all Las Vegas golfers when he commented about playing in front of his Las Vegas supporters. "People are great," said Campbell, who now lives in his native Texas, following the second round. "They don't ask for anything. I enjoy seeing them. Enjoy talking to them. But other than that, we keep it like that. They come out and watch me play, and it's great to see them. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to spend with them off the course. Everybody is great here. It's easy for me." Campbell played at UNLV from 1994-96 and was inducted into the UNLV Hall of Fame in 2006.
Campbell did make time on Thursday evening to attend the induction of Knight into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame, an event also attended by UNLV Athletic Director Jerry Koloskie, Assistant Coach Daron Dorsey, UNLV Physical Therapist Keith Kleven, UNLV Home golf course owner Garry Goett, UNLV Golf Foundation President Dan Albregts, and major UNLV golf financial supporter Christina Hixon, among others. Other former Rebels in attendance included PGA Tour players Charley Hoffman and Chris Riley, along with Chris Berry, Eric Schroeder, Edward Fryatt, Warren Schutte and Jeremy Anderson.
Moore, easily the most decorated golfer in UNLV history, also loves coming back to Las Vegas, where he lived in a home at Southern Highlands for a time following his Rebel playing days that ended in 2005. "It's always great coming back here," said Moore following his 63. "I obviously played around here quite a bit. I'm very comfortable in this area on this golf course. So it's fun coming back. It is one of the tournaments that I look forward to most all year. And then today it was just a great day. A great day of which that really allows you to go out and shoot a good score like this. The last two days have been perfect." Moore was the 2004 NCAA Champion and U.S. Amateur champion in addition to winning several other major amateur events. Earlier this year he earned his first PGA Tour win at the Wyndham Championship.
Piercy, who fired a 67 on Friday, might have been the happiest golfer in the field. Piercy's wife, Sara, gave birth to a baby at about 9 PM on Thursday evening, and Piercy was back at the course and battling into contention just a few hours later. For Fowler, he is excited to be a new Las Vegas resident and loves Las Vegas. He moved to the Summerlin area about a week ago into a home that is about one mile from the TPC Summerlin golf course. Fowler, a big Tweeter on Twitter, wrote the following about his impending 3rd round. "Off #1 at 10:30 with my boy Scotty P and Furyk … should be a fun day!"
Other Las Vegas golfers making the cut included Riley, who fired a second-round 64; Las Vegas resident Alex Cejka; Hoffman, a member of the 1998 UNLV National Championship team; Las Vegas resident Dean Wilson; former UNLV Rebel Bill Lunde, who is battling a minor medical condition; former Las Vegas resident Tommy Armour III, who celebrated his 50th birthday in Las Vegas last week; and longtime resident and pro Ernie Gonzales, who went deep in the second round with a 63 to make the cut after an opening 75. Las Vegas golfers missing the cut were residents Nick Watney and Barlow, plus PGA of America pro Wes Weston who recorded rounds of 74-74 in only his second PGA Tour event. Defending champion Marc Turnesa also missed the cut.