Las Vegas, Nevada (April 27, 2010)—Las Vegas’ Rio Secco Golf Club will play host to the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Golf Championship on May 3-5. It will be the second straight year the WAC’s top teams will tackle Rio Secco, one of 50 Las Vegas golf courses that attract thousands of golf visitors every year.–By Bill Bowman
New Mexico State won last year’s event with a team-total of 6-over-par while the Aggies’ Travis Reid won the individual title with a 9-under-par total of 209, firing rounds of 67-73-69. Mark Blais, Rio Secco’s director of golf sales and marketing, said the staff feels honored to have the WAC event at Rio Secco. “It’s a privilege to host such a high-level of competition,” Blais said. “It gives Rio Secco great exposure and the staff really looks forward to the event.”
Rio Secco, a Rees Jones design, is a 7,332-yard eye-popping, jaw-dropping masterpiece, weaving over and around canyons. Elevation changes, slick–but velvety smooth–putting greens and enough risk/reward shots to challenge even the best players highlight the course. It’s the second time the WAC event will be held at Rio Secco. “Nick Watney’s uncle (Mike Watney, the Fresno State men’s golf coach) was out here when Nick was working with Butch (Harmon, of the Butch Harmon School of Golf, on site at Rio Secco) and he looked into the possibility of playing the WAC Championship here,” Blais said. “They checked out the lodging possibilities and the destination and it all worked out. And now they are back for the second year and we couldn’t be happier.”
The staff is already hard at work gearing up for the event. Charles Packard, Rio Secco’s head golf professional, and the Southern Nevada Golf Association will set the course up to challenge the players. “They will mark the course and set the pins to certainly test the best players in the conference in a championship setting,” Blais added. And there’s more than just golf. At last year’s dinner during the opening ceremonies, Natalie Gulbis was on hand and Harmon spoke to the room.
But it’s the course that Blais feels will be the center of attention. “The players love the course,” he said. “We’ll have easier pin positions the first day and they will certainly get tougher as the tournament wears on. In the end, with the course conditions and the variety of the layout, it’s very much a big hit with the kids and they know they will have to play well to score well.” Blais concluded that the event will also help players as they eye their next step up the golf ladder. “This is certainly going to be a great test of ability for those lucky enough to go on to the next level.”