While many of the world’s top-ranked golfers played the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin last weekend, “Golf’s 5th Major”, the Lakeshore Open, was decided at Phil Tom’s home in the historic Scotch 80’s neighborhood in the heart of Las Vegas.
Despite the fancy name, “Golf’s 5th Major” (officially trademarked, by the way), Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau nor any other PGA Tour players participated. That didn’t stop Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman from proclaiming last Saturday as Michelle and Phil Tom Day. The two were married following the tournament, which raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
The field included 110 players attempting to tame the difficult course that winds through the front, back and side yards of Tom’s home. The unique course features all par three holes from 10-41 yards and seemingly pencil-thin fairways. The 18 th hole played to an average of 8.67 strokes and overall conditions proved so difficult that first-round leader David Steele withdrew in Round 2 after a 24-over par front nine.
Only one club can be used and the winner walks away with an honorary blue jacket. The charity tournament is all in good fun and no prize money is awarded, but major bragging rights go along with the title.
UNLV men’s assistant golf coach Philip Rowe shot nine over to win and the top rookie performer was former UNLV women’s golfer Liz Prior (+31). Teaching pro Mike O’Donnell was second at 11 over.
Besides winning the Lakeshore, Rowe spent the weekend following the half dozen current and former UNLV golfers at the Shriners. Near the putting green Sunday, Rowe proclaimed through a huge grin, “I’m a major champion!” before heading off to congratulate junior Jack Trent on his 29th-place Shriners finish.
Para-golfer event at Desert Pines
One of the most inspirational tournaments in Vegas golf history concludes Thursday at Desert Pines. The U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance International Championship includes golfers with physical and sensory challenges (para-golfers) and was played in accordance with new national ranking and competition standards.
The event is sanctioned by the U.S Golf Association and the para-golfers earned points toward a world ranking. Southern Nevada Golf Association rules officials worked the tournament. The new standards were released in May.
“This is a big step for USA disabled competitive golfers, to know where they stand against their competitive contemporaries,” said EQ Sylvester, Chairman, USAGA.
Chris Berry, the hero when UNLV won the 1998 NCAA golf championship, has been Brian Gay’s caddie for three years. But after the fall series of tournaments, he is retiring to help run his family’s company, Oakwood Management, in Las Vegas. Gay finished seventh at the Shriners.
In 1996, Berry finished last at the NCAA finals and considered quitting, but stayed with it and was rewarded. In 1998, he tied for second in the finals and made par on the final hole to clinch the program’s first — and still only — national title.
The course at Wynn Las Vegas reopens Friday following a “reimagination” by Tom Fazio.
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 email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.