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Nevada State Amateur winner relaxed, had fun

Updated July 20, 2021 - 1:52 pm

Josh Goldstein felt like he had been putting too much pressure on himself when he played in big golf events. So when the Nevada State Amateur rolled around last week, he decided on a new approach.

“I went in with zero expectations and just wanted to have fun playing,” he said.

Mission accomplished.

The Las Vegas resident left the field in the dust at Red Hawk Golf and Resort in Sparks, winning his first state amateur title by five shots. He shot three rounds in the 60s and led wire to wire, finishing at 12-under 201.

He entered the final round with a five-shot lead, which was a new experience for him.

“It’s the first time I’ve had that much of a cushion, so there was a little extra pressure,” he said. “But there’s always a bit of pressure when you play. You just have to accept it and go through your routine.”

He credits his short game for the win, calling it his best putting in a long time, and his driving, which is always the strength of his game.

“I kept the ball in play off the tee,” he said. “And when you do that on that course, you have a pretty short shot into most of the greens.”

Goldstein’s win was more validation to his decision two years ago to return to amateur golf. In 2018, he turned pro but found little success in two years of trying. He played mini-tours and tried and failed to qualify for the Korn Ferry, Mackenzie and Latin American tours.

But when coronavirus arrived and professional golf came to a standstill, he decided to apply to get his amateur status back.

“I just wanted to have fun and compete again,” he said.

Since then, Goldstein has rediscovered his love for golf. He was medalist at first-stage qualifying for the U.S. Open this spring, won some local events and will be in the field this month at the Nevada Amateur Match Play event. He’ll also try to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Four Ball later this summer.

And he’ll do it all while pursuing his career as a professional cellist. He gives private lessons and plays private gigs, but he’s hoping to teach or catch on with the Las Vegas Philharmonic.

In the meantime, Goldstein is enjoying the reaction of his friends and family to his State Amateur triumph.

“My phone’s been blowing up,” he said. “Everyone is super happy for me, and that’s been great.”

Power gets first win

It was a Las Vegas week on the PGA Tour.

While Collin Morikawa was claiming his second major championship at the British Open, the secondary PGA Tour event in Kentucky was captured by Seamus Power, the Irish golfer who recently listed Las Vegas as his new home.

Power survived a six-hole playoff with J.T. Poston at the Barbasol Championship for his first PGA Tour victory. It gives him a two-year exemption, entry into the 2022 Players Championship and PGA Championship, and the title of PGA Tour winner.

“I view myself as extremely lucky,” he said following the win. “I’m 34 and I’ve yet to work a day in my life. So every time I get to play a tournament or play an extra year on tour, to me, it’s a massive bonus.”

Power’s win capped a spectacular two-month run for him. During a span of six tournaments, he posted four top-10s and finished no worse than 19th.

“I love playing golf. It’s my favorite thing to do,” he said. “Even if I didn’t win, my attitude is I still would try to be very much on the positive side. It’s still golf. I still get a check for playing golf, and I didn’t have to work in an office from 9 to 5, so I’m very, very lucky.”

Las Vegas Open

The final field is set for the inaugural Las Vegas Open to be played July 28-30 at TPC Las Vegas. Players from 18 states and Canada will be chasing the $50,000 purse.

The 156-player field is loaded with top club pros and amateurs primarily from Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California. But there are some familiar names as well, including former PGA Tour winner Charlie Beljan and Bob May, who took Tiger Woods to a playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship.

Greg Robertson is a freelance reporter who covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at robertsongt@gmail.com.

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