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Elina Saksa helps Rebels sweep Las Vegas Collegiate

When UNLV women’s golf freshman Elina Saksa motioned for head coach Amy Bush-Herzer to come talk to her on the 18th fairway at Boulder Creek to discuss an upcoming pressure-packed shot, the veteran coach thought it was time for a light-hearted moment.

“I said, ‘are you asking me to hit this shot for you?’ and she laughed, which I thought was good,” Bush-Herzer said.

A few seconds later, Saksa, from Turku, Finland, knocked her approach to 3 feet and made the birdie putt. The clutch final-hole performance clinched the team victory for the Rebels on Tuesday at the Las Vegas Collegiate and co-medalist honors for herself.

UNLV finished at 15-over 879 and beat the University of San Francisco by eight shots. Saksa finished 4-under 212 and tied East Tennessee State’s Tereza Melecka.

“I went over the shot with coach and I thought, ‘just hit it to the middle of the green and if I mishit it a little bit, it will go at the pin.’” Saksu said. “As soon as I hit it, I thought, ‘that’s perfect.’

“It feels really good and it’s starting to sink in. Hard work pays off. My teammates and I worked so hard this fall and finally in the last fall tournament it paid off. It was a lot of hours and overcoming the struggle to manage my time with school, coming to the states and just all of that.”

Bush-Herzer said the victories were the byproduct of a tough schedule and will build momentum.

“This is huge for us looking ahead and winning at home is terrific and they deserve it,” Bush-Herzer said. “We also start the spring at home, so we have a chance to jump start the spring.

“Elina has been working day in and day out to be able to perform when needed. She is a long ball hitter and I’ve had some others from Europe like that, so having that again for our program is a nice change.”

Fink honors Orgill

Southern Nevada Golf Association member Steven Fink finished second in both the Las Vegas City Senior Amateur silver division and Las Vegas City Amateur championship division over the weekend at Las Vegas Golf Club. His final-round 4-under 68 on Sunday during the City Amateur was a tribute to longtime SNGA board member and volunteer Robert Orgill, who died Oct. 20.

Fink attended the memorial service on Saturday and took home a card with Orgill’s photo.

“I had his picture on my cart Sunday,” Fink told Bill Bowman for SNGA.org. “I talked to him. I had a much different attitude than normal. I really feel like I won. I know that sounds strange, but that’s the way I feel.”

Skyler Ngo won the City Amateur championship division and Teklit Gebrai won net. The Senior City Amateur champs were: John Turk, senior; Bobby Hakes, net; Frank Ellenburg, silver; Tony Troilo, silver net.

Member and guests

It’s the time of year when major member-guest tournaments take place across Las Vegas. Here’s some recent champions.

— Las Vegas Country Club women: Sigrid Schacher and Gabrielle Buonacorsi, overall; Diane Booth and Laura Smith, gross.

— Southern Highlands: Tyler Mattox and Jeff Pintar.

— Legacy: Bill Fortner and Joe Thomason.

— TPC Summerlin: Matt Hutchison and John Hess, overall; Jason Murphy and Jeremy Anderson, Summerlin flight.

The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. 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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