Champions Tour chooses California over Nevada

Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the fifth hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines during t ...

The chances of a Champions Tour event coming to the Las Vegas region took a significant hit when the senior circuit announced a new tournament in 2023 in Rancho Mirage, California.

Rumors had been circulating over the past year that the Champions Tour was hoping to add an event on the West Coast, with Las Vegas a primary target.

But when the LPGA Tour announced it was abandoning Mission Hills Country Club after 51 years and moving its first major of the year to Houston, the Champions Tour pounced.

The Galleri Classic will be held March 24-26 at the Dinah Shore course at Mission Hills. No mention whether the winner will take a leap in Poppie’s Pond.

“World Golf Hall of Fame members and legends of the game will enjoy a tremendous week of competition here,” Champions Tour president Miller Brady said.

The tournament fills a hole on the Champions Tour’s early-season West Coast swing, which also includes events in Tucson, Arizona, and Newport Beach, California.

A early spring event is the only logical date the Champions would consider Southern Nevada. It won’t book dates close to the LPGA Match Play in May, or the PGA Tour’s Shriners Children’s Open in the fall. It also won’t schedule anything in the region’s summer heat.

Southern Nevada’s loss is the California desert’s gain.

“This will quickly become one of the very best venues on the PGA Tour Champions schedule, and most importantly will continue to have a positive impact on the local community,” said David Pillsbury, CEO of ClubCorp, operators of the course.

UNLV waits, wonders

After one of its most successful years in recent memory, UNLV’s women’s golf team is playing the waiting game to see if it earns at invitation to the NCAA regionals.

The Rebels could have wrapped up a spot by winning the Mountain West tournament last week, but San Jose State jumped on the back of Natasha Andrea Oon and raced to the title and the automatic bid. Oon, ranked sixth in the nation, won the individual title in record fashion.

Coach Amy Bush-Herzer and her team will now wait to see if their three tournament titles this season are enough to impress the selection committee.

The Rebels won the Dale McNamara Invitational in October in Tulsa, Oklahoma; The Clash at Boulder Creek later that month; and The Show at Spanish Trail to open the spring season in February.

Title for future Rebel

Thienna Huynh committed to the UNLV women’s team several months ago, and the Georgia prep star added a huge title to her résumé over the weekend.

Huynh teamed with Sara Im, a high school junior from Georgia, to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-ball. The pair beat Kaitly Schroeder and Bailey Shoemaker 1-up at Grand Reserve in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Huynh, who chipped in for birdie on the opening hole of the championship match, is the reigning Georgia State Golf Association girls players of the year.

Dolan wins at Red Rock

Kim Dolan added the Southern Nevada PGA Senior Chapter Championship to his large collection of trophies, winning the title last week at Red Rock Golf Club.

Dolan finished at 4-under 140, three shots better than defending champion Troy Helseth and five over Tom Fischer.

Dolan, the director of instruction at Siena Golf Club, is the reigning section senior champion.

Short game title

Mike Sidlinger shot a 2-over 62 to claim the title at the SNGA Short Game Championship at Eagle Crest.

Other winners included Alex Bluhm (Senior), Frank Acker (Silver) and Dave Haddock (Net).

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.