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Ex-UNLV golfer McInerney witness to Las Vegas Strip shooting

The enormity of the mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Festival hit home around midnight Sunday.

That’s when my wife, Heather, a Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center pediatric emergency room nurse, was asked to come to work immediately. By the next morning, she and her co-workers had attended to more than 200 people who were injured during the country music concert across from Mandalay Bay.

By “God’s grace,” former UNLV golfer and Web.com Tour player AJ McInerney wasn’t one of those patients. McInerney, his girlfriend, Alyssa Martine, and her brother, Anthony, were in the crowd when the shots rang out.

“I don’t mind talking about it because I’m not physically hurt, just emotionally shaken,” McInerney said. “Hopefully what I say can help others who weren’t as fortunate as we were. I wake up every day and wonder, ‘Why did I get so lucky, and why did we get so lucky?

“I know a lot of people, and I saw a lot of people who didn’t get so lucky. This is now all about them and Las Vegas coming together. I love Las Vegas. I grew up here and played golf here, and I have no plans of ever living anywhere else. How everybody came together made me fall in love even more with Las Vegas.”

McInerney said he first thought the gun shots were fireworks until someone yelled, “Those aren’t fireworks, everybody get down!”

Immediately, McInerney and Martine got down and Anthony came over to help. After about a minute of shooting, the three made a life-saving decision.

“We said, ‘We gotta run,’ and started running for our lives,” McInerney said. “You could hear the bullet sound hitting somebody, the thump of it. And you could see the kind of smoky spark of the bullet ricocheting off the asphalt all around us. We had no option but to run. We felt like sitting ducks.”

Alyssa Martine shared part of her story on social media:

“Words don’t describe how thankful I am for @AJ_McInerney. He laid right on top of me to make a shield & made me his #1 priority (Ant did too).”

McInerney, 23, grew up in Henderson and played at Coronado High School. He said he isn’t sure how his perspective about golf and life will change.

“I haven’t really thought about the future and golf yet,” McInerney said. “The second stage of Q school is coming up in a month, but I don’t know how to answer that right now and how this will change it. I am just counting my blessings every day.”

Golf community reaction

Players and organizations used social media to show support for Las Vegas. Here’s some of the reaction:

“Heartbreaking & devastating. Praying for the families & friends of loved ones lost and the victims from yesterday’s horrific shooting.”— Natalie Gulbis, LPGA Tour.

“Unreal what just happened to my second home. Thoughts and prayers for the ones hurt.”— Shintaro Ban, UNLV senior.

“I still can’t believe what happened in Vegas. Incredibly sad and frustrating to watch. Prayers up to the victims and their families.”— Smylie Kaufman, 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

“I’m about to start my travels back to Las Vegas I can’t wait to get back to my family and just hug and be with them.”— Dana Finkelstein, LPGA Tour.

“Times like this is when we all need to come together. Prayers and thoughts to Vegas.”— Justin Thomas, 2017 FedEx Cup champion.

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. Our hearts go out to our entire Las Vegas community. Our hope is that in the face of chaos we can come together stronger than ever.” — Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

“Thank you to the AMAZING First Responders, Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff who are continuing to work overtime for our citizens.” — Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.

“Blood is needed. Go donate blood if you’re in Vegas.” — Scott Piercy, PGA Tour.

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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