Las Vegas, Nevada (December 13, 2013)–The annual professional state championship for Nevada was played over two courses in the golf destination of Mesquite, Nevada, this week. Walking away with the title and $20,000 was Jeff Rangel from Martinez, Calif. who recorded a 16-under par total to defeat Brady Schnell of Phoenix, Ariz. by two shots. The event was played at CasaBlanca Golf Club and The Palms Golf Club, and is one of Nevada's longest running major golf championships having been played for more than 40 years. Previous champions include PGA Tour players Robert Gamez and Kevin Stadler in addition to former Nike Tour champion and Butch Harmon School of Golf professional Vic Wilk. UNLV Golf All-American Kevin Penner won the event in 2012. The Mesquite Resort Association and Mesquite Gaming annually sponsor the event that attracts aspiring pros from around the country.–By Brian Hurlburt.
Rangel, the new champ, is a veteran of the Canadian Tour but lost his playing privileges following a disastrous season in 2013. It got so bad that he contemplated giving up the game entirely. “The way I have been playing the last few weeks has given me a certain level of confidence," said Rangel following the potential career-changing victory. "I actually took more than a month off from the game to decide just what my future would be in golf. I found out that I really like being a professional golfer and missed the game. I just needed to put this season behind me and re-dedicate myself to improving. I’ve played pretty well the last few weeks with friends in Arizona, guys that are playing in the final stage this week of the Web.Com Tour Q-School. I know I can play out there on Tour. This win really helps with the process.”
Mesquite, Nevada, is located just 80 miles north of Las Vegas, is a resort destination in the picturesque Virgin River Valley. Mesquite combines a small-town atmosphere with a multi-faceted array of big-city attractions ranging from 24-hour gaming and fine dining to celebrity entertainment and championship golf. The Mesquite Gaming company operates the CasaBlanca Resort and the Virgin River Resort in addition to both Nevada Open host courses.
Las Vegas resident Craig Barlow, who has made more than 150 cuts during his PGA Tour career, was tied for the lead heading into the third and final round but faltered to a 73 and finished in 8th place. Barlow is working to re-establish consistent playing status on the PGA Tour, but due to his lifetime status he is eligible for some events on both the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour in 2014.
Playing in the same pairing with Schnell, Rangel eagled the par 5, 15th hole at CasaBlanca in the final round, which was his 13th hole of the shotgun start. The well-timed eagle jumped him into a one-shot lead. Rangel held on to that lead heading into the final hole, forcing Schnell to be aggressive and try to make a birdie or eagle on the par 5, 507-yard hole. His approach was offline and ended up in the right, greenside bunker. Schnell was unable to get up and down for birdie while Rangel made a birdie to seal the two-shot victory.
The Nevada Open will be back at the CasaBlanca and Palms courses in Mesquite in 2014 but will move up a few weeks on the tournament calendar to mid-November. The CasaBlanca and Palms courses are both resort courses and open to the public. Click now to view the official website for both courses to reserve your tee times and/or Mesquite golf packages at the official home layouts of the Nevada Open.