Wes Weston always hoped to play in his hometown PGA Tour event. He just didn’t think he’d have to wait until he was 49.
After years of toiling in golf’s minor leagues and working as a teaching professional, Weston finally will tee off today in the first round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
"It’ll be great," said Weston, a Chaparral High School and UNLV graduate. "This is something I’ve always wanted to do, to play in Las Vegas."
Weston, who played for the Rebels from 1978 to 1982, has been a club pro for 20 years and works at SouthShore Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas.
He qualified for the Shriners Open through the Southwest Sectional tournament. This will be only his second PGA Tour event. He made it through qualifying to gain a spot in the 1998 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
But Weston is more excited about today. He’ll share the experience with his sons, 16-year-old Kyle and 13-year-old Andrew.
The tournament takes on added significance for Weston because of the Shriners’ work with children and the fact that Andrew has twice beaten cancer.
"It really hits home when you see what they do," Weston said. "It’s something as a parent I can definitely relate to given what my son has been through."
While just teeing off here is a dream come true for Weston, he’d love to be playing on the weekend.
"I’ve been playing good all summer," he said. "I believe if I play well, I can make the cut. There’s certainly no pressure on me. I’m just going to go out with my boys and enjoy the experience."
• TOURNAMENT AMBASSADOR — Former Green Valley High School football player LaQuan Phillips will serve as an official ambassador for the tournament.
Phillips was treated at Shriners Hospital for Children North California in Sacramento after suffering a spinal injury last year while playing for the Gators.
Being a Shriners patient, Phillips said, made him a fan of the tournament.
"As an athlete, I can appreciate how hard the golfers work at their sport," he said. "I can’t wait to meet them.
"I honestly didn’t know about this tournament, and I didn’t know about the Shriners and what they do. But I think it’s beyond amazing what they do for kids, and I’m very grateful to them."
Phillips now walks with a cane, but he said his ultimate goal is to get back on the football field.
"I have a lot of faith in the doctors and the therapists that I can get back to where I was before I got hurt," he said. "I hope to walk without the cane soon."
• PRO-AM WINNERS — Jim Furyk has won this tournament three times. On Wednesday, Furyk won the Pro-Am when he and his playing partners — former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller, Jerry Schwartz and Albie Colotto — posted a team score of 19-under-par 52.
The format was best ball, with the low score of all players, including the pro, counting toward the team total.
• LYLE IN — Jarrod Lyle has joined the field for the Shriners Open, replacing Brad Adamonis, who withdrew Wednesday to attend his father’s funeral.
Adamonis’ father, John, died Saturday after a long bout with cancer.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.Slideshow