Las Vegas, Nevada (December 2, 2010)–The Las Vegas Golf Region is the home to more than 30 golfers who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses, including several who are currently trying to secure full playing privileges on the PGA Tour. The grueling 6-round PGA Tour School is currently underway, and the Las Vegas PGA Tour pros have a lot of work left to either hit the big time or regain the status they once held. The event is being held in at Orange Country National Golf Club in Florida.–By Brian Hurlburt.
There are no less than eight golfers in the field who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. including six who live in the Las Vegas Golf Region. Among those, two residents, Andres Gonzales and Scott Piercy, are out of the gate the quickest and well within striking disctance of a Top 25-and-ties finish that will be needed to secure official 2011 PGA Tour playing privileges. Any golfer who finishes at the next nearest number until number 50 earns full status on the Nationwide Tour while all of the other golfers in the field earn conditional status on the Nationwide Tour.
The other six golfers with ties to Vegas are off to more challenging starts and have ground to make up. That group includes residents Craig Barlow, John Mallinger, Mike Ruiz, John Riegger, and former Rebels Skip Kendall and Ted Oh. But even if some in this group don't rally, they will have several chances to play on the PGA Tour. Both Kendall and Barlow have made more than 150 cuts on the PGA Tour, and will earn some exemptions into events based on previous career success while Mallinger finished 133rd on the 2010 Money List and has conditional status on the 2011 PGA Tour. Riegger won an event on the Nationwide Tour in 2010 and will gain some benefit from that on that lower tour. Piercy finished 136th on the money list and will have some status like Mallinger.
Gonzales is a former UNLV golfer who has played the mini tours for several years with some success. He is a past champion on the Canadian Tour. Gonzales plays and practices quite a bit at the historic Las Vegas Country Club. Piercy grew up in Las Vegas and is a former Nevada State High School champion. He has had some good success already on the PGA Tour, earning more than $3.3 million in his career thus far. Piercy went to San Diego State University, and a major break through for him as a professional was when he won the Ultimate Game at Wynn Las Vegas. The total prize for the champ was $2 million, which he shared with a group of investors who fronted the entry fee into the tournament.
Q School Notes: A total of 1,389 players sent in applications to participate in the 2010 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. Six pre-qualifiers, along with 13 first- and six second-stage regionals were held to reduce the field. A total of 166 players advanced to the final qualifying stage, which consists of six rounds with no cut. Two past q-school medalists are participating this week at Orange County National: 2006 medalist George McNeill and 1992 co-medalist Skip Kendall. The total field is 166 golfers.