The 4th Annual Las Vegas World Amateur golf tournament is in the books and both golfers and Las Vegas golf courses shined. Danny Slone has played in each previous tournament, but finally broke through for the overall victory. In each of the last three years, Slone finished in the top 10 but finally claimed the Grand Champion trophy in 2016.
The tournament, played over seven Las Vegas courses, attracted 148 golfers representing 30 states and four countries. There were seven divisions and nine flights.
“The reason we created the event was to reach out to other golf associations around the country and around the world and let them see what Las Vegas golf has to offer,” said Ann Sunstrum, executive director of the SNGA. “We hope to continue to grow the tournament. We’re using word-of-mouth and hoping the players tell their friends what a great experience they had.”
Slone, from Amarillo, Texas, put together handicap-adjusted rounds of 66-70-66-64 for a four-round total of 266 and a 12-stroke victory. It was Slone’s consistency in this event that helped him win the crown, which was important, but just being in Las Vegas and experiencing the tournament makes it all worth it, win or lose.
“It’s been a great time and a great event every time I’ve played,” said Slone. “The golf courses are really challenging and you meet a lot of great people. I’ve got four or five friends I’ll try to get to come back and play next year. They tell me ‘but you haven’t won yet.’ Well, now I have. So we’ll see if they come up and try to beat me. It’s about time that I won, for sure. I tied for fourth, placed sixth and tied for seventh over the last three years. It was nice to finally get a win.”
He said he was never over-confident. It was the 11th hole that boosted his confidence, plus a thought about Lee Trevino.
“The 11th was my only birdie and it felt great,” he said. “I hit the fairway and then hit my second shot to about 8-to-10 feet. I looked over the putt and then thought about Lee Trevino. I remember him saying ‘When you’re ready, read it and hit it.’ It wasn’t an easy putt, but it went in.”
After that it was just consistency. “I wasn’t sure if I could hold on but I played solid all the way in.”
The last day’s Final Round Champion was Theo Van Tunen from White Rock, BC. He carded a net final round 63 to edge Slone by a stroke. “I was just solid all day,” Van Tunen said. “Everything went well. I didn’t get in any trouble. I hit a lot of fairways, but not many greens. But I had a lot of one putts for par and that helped a lot.”
Overall, his trip around Bear’s Best was one of his most memorable. “This course really fits my game and my eye very well,” he said.
The event has incorporated many of the courses in the Las Vegas area. This year’s group included both Angel Park courses (Mountain and Palm), both Revere courses (Concord and Lexington), Desert Pines, Painted Desert and Bear’s Best. The final championship round was played at Bear’s Best Las Vegas, a Jack Nicklaus course.
The Las Vegas World Amateur kicked off with the welcome party at Angel Park Golf Club. During the opening reception, a series of dining stations was available for competitors and guests, and the welcome event offered the perfect time to catch up with old friends and meet new competitors.
The awards dinner that followed tournament action on the third day was held at Suncoast. The Suncoast is located in the heart of Summerlin and located within minutes of several top Las Vegas golf courses including Angel Park, Badlands, TPC Las Vegas and others.
Las Vegas World Amateur Additional Overall Winners
Men 49-under: Cliff Austin, Dodge City, Kansas
Women: Dana Boyette, Nashville, Tenn.
Legends: Danny Slone, Amarillo, Tex.
Senior: Gary Balavitch, Fruitport, Mich.
Super Senior: John Abdool, Miramar, Fla.
Cromwell flight: Cliff Austin
Paris flight: Dana Boyette; Mirage flight: Carolyn Collins, Montague, Colo.
Luxor flight: Vincent Guagliani, Scarborough, Ontario; Aria flight: Danny Slone
MGM flight: Brent Olson, Edina, Minn.; Venetian flight: Gary Balavitch
Suncoast flight: John Abdool; Red Rock flight: John Morris, Belmont, N.C.