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Knight remains hopeful Oda may reconsider leaving early

When an accomplished PGA Tour player is in your ear to turn professional, it’s probably pretty difficult to not do so. That was the case for UNLV All-American golfer John Oda, who decided this week to forego his senior year with the Rebels and pursue professional golf, at least according to a recent article in Golfweek.

However, UNLV head coach Dwaine Knight was hopeful that Oda may still play with the Rebels this season. In this day and age, what it exactly means to turn professional isn’t always clear and Knight hopes Oda keeps all of his options open.

“We encourage and still encourage John to stay in school and finish his degree and dominate college golf,” Knight said. “I know he could achieve both of those goals.”

Oda was an academic and athletic All-American as a junior and led the Rebels to Mountain West conference and NCAA Regional titles. He also was — or still is — one of the top-ranked amateurs in the world.

Prior to playing in the U.S. Open in June, Oda said he was leaning towards turning professional. Also, Kevin Na, a PGA Tour player and member at TPC Summerlin, was quoted in Golfweek around that time as urging Oda to begin his pursuit of the PGA Tour.

The Rebels were ranked 12th in a Golfweek pre-season poll. If Oda does leave, they will be anchored by senior Shintaro Ban, an honorable mention All-America as a junior, and junior Harry Hall, who was named to the All-Mountain West conference team with Oda and Ban last season.

Oda was unavailable for comment this week.

Hoffman nears Cup bid

This week’s Dell Championship at TPC Boston is the final time players can accrue points for the President’s Cup and former UNLV All-American Charley Hoffman is currently holding on to the final spot on the United States team, 23 points ahead of Kevin Chappell. However, two captain picks are also available and both could still make the team, no matter what order they finish.

“Gotta think both make it,” GolfChannel.com writer Will Gray tweeted Sunday.

Putting qualifiers continue

Major Series of Putting qualifiers are Monday-Wednesday at 6 p.m. at TaylorMade Golf Experience through Sept. 20. The regional and final are scheduled for Sept, 23.

On Aug. 25, Kyle Loman and Tanner Manger each earned a team spot in the $50,000 team championship starting November 1 in Las Vegas.

Hahn adLPGA qualifying stage two

Las Vegas resident Jennifer Hahn, who won the 2009 Nevada high school championship while playing at Green Valley, finished 60th in the first stage of LPGA Tour qualifying school and will move on to stage two, scheduled for Oct. 16-22 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida.

“The key to success at stage one was to stay patient throughout the whole week,” Hahn said. “It’s a long week of highly competitive golf and over 115-degree weather each day. This year was especially more difficult because the field exceeded 360 players and many of the new players were Ladies European tour players. It’s a long week of golf, so trusting in my preparation and staying patient throughout the week was why I was successful.”

Former UNLV golfer Alexandria Kaui, who won three state titles while at Green Valley and finished her career with the Rebels this spring, finished tied for 91st and didn’t qualify for stage two.

Deal of the week

The Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort Advantage Club Card goes on sale Friday and offers discounts at the three Pete Dye courses throughout 2018. Golfers who purchase by Sept. 30 get back 10 percent of the purchase price in green fee credit.

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 on Twitter.

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