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Annual Las Vegas tour pro roundup features familiar, new faces

Updated November 29, 2017 - 12:46 pm

Maverick McNealy, a former Stanford All-American who is tied with Tiger Woods for the most wins in school history, is one of Las Vegas’ newest residents who plays on a major golf tour.

McNealy is a member of the new Tom Fazio Summit course in Summerlin and played there Monday. He shot 68 in 40 mph winds.

McNealy, who plays in the final stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School from Dec. 7 to 10 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona, joins a long list of tour pros who live here, grew up here and/or played at UNLV.

About 25 Vegas golfers have some form of exempt status on the LPGA Tour, Symetra LPGA Tour, PGA Tour, Web.com Tour or PGA Tour Champions.

“Las Vegas is a really good golf community, and it’s close to home (Northern California) and way more affordable than the Bay Area,” McNealy said. “Plus, it’s easy to travel in and out of, and there are a lot of good players who live here and good weather, so it made a lot of sense to move here.”

Scheduled to join McNealy at Q School are residents Wyndham Clark, Alex Kang, Max Marsico and John Oda, who played at UNLV. Two other Rebels also will play on the Web.com this year. Andres Gonzales is exempt, and A.J. McInerney has conditional status.

On the LPGA Tour, former UNLV golfer Dana Finkelstein was exempt last season, but finished 126th on the money list and is playing in the final stage of Q School through Dec. 3 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. Green Valley High standout and former Vanderbilt golfer Jennifer Hahn is also at Q school. Worst case scenario, both players will be exempt on the Symetra Tour if they don’t finish among the top 20.

Las Vegas Valley residents Natalie Gulbis, Inbee Park, Danielle Kang and Allison Lee also play on the LPGA Tour.

Therese O’ Hara, who played at UNLV from 2007 to 2011, has retired. She was exempt last season, but finished 146th on the money list.

“I am so grateful to have attended UNLV for four amazing years with great people around me,” O’ Hara said. “Golf brought me to Vegas, where I have made friends for life and also where I met my husband, Pat, so it has literally changed my life.

”I loved playing golf out in the desert, and it was because of college golf that I was able to turn my amateur career into a professional one. Las Vegas will always have a very special place in my heart.”

On the PGA Tour, former Rebels Chad Campbell, Charley Hoffman, Ryan Moore and Adam Scott are exempt, and Derek Ernst, Chris Riley and Bill Lunde have conditional status as former champions.

Las Vegas residents exempt on the PGA Tour are Scott Piercy, Alex Cejka, Kevin Na and Rickie Fowler, who recently purchased a home at the Summit. Craig Barlow has conditional exempt status in the veteran category. Robert Gamez, who grew up in Las Vegas and now lives in Florida, has past champion status.

On the PGA Tour Champions, resident Tommy Armour III is exempt, and fellow residents Jeff Gallagher, Keith Clearwater and John Riegger are at Q School at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona through Friday. Former Rebel Skip Kendall is also at Q School.

Weekly deal

The gift of golf is available for $99 at SNGA.org and features rounds at Coyote Springs, Las Vegas National and Golf Summerlin, plus an annual SNGA membership.

Stars on, off course

The UNLV women’s golf team received new PXG clubs during Tuesday’s practice at Las Vegas Country Club.

The golf notebook appears Thursdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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