It’s been a long time since Robert Gamez, 50, a Vegas native now living in Orlando, has been featured in the news. But it was a regular occurrence when he was a teenager and dominating local amateur tournaments before playing at the University of Arizona and then earning the inaugural PGA Tour rookie of the year award in 1990.
Gamez, a Clark High product, won twice that season including at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he holed out a 7-iron from the 18th fairway at Bay Hill to defeat Greg Norman. Gamez played the Palmer for the 30th time last week and shot 82-82 to miss the cut.
“To be able to have that (award), along with that win, which gets me in for life out here at this event, is just very special,” Gamez told in the Orlando Sentinel. “I think by renaming it the Arnold Palmer Award, the young guys that win rookie of the year are going to really appreciate it.”
Gamez didn’t win his third event until 2005, which was a record length of time between victories. He has played in 548 PGA Tour events and earned $8.7 million. He now plays on the PGA Tour Champions and finished 33rd at the Cologuard Classic in early March, his best finish in seven starts on the over-50 circuit. He’s hopeful about his game and has been working on putting with LPGA hall of famer Jan Stephenson.
Vegas golf happenings
— The new Club Champion fitting studio is open in Summerlin. The company was founded in Chicago in 2010 and offers up to 35,000 different fitting combinations of club head and shafts of major brands.
— The annual Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort demo day weekend featuring Ping (Sunday), Callaway, Cobra, Mizuno and Titleist (Saturday) is March 23-24. The Paiute features three Pete Dye signature golf courses and a local discount players card.
— The Southern Nevada Golf Association is offering a sweepstakes at SNGA.org with 64 prizes available including two grand prizes of twosomes at Cascata and other rounds of golf and more.
First SNGA major
The winners of the SNGA Championship played at Highland Falls and Palm Valley were: Brandon Bauman, championship; Frank Acker, senior; Kevin Parrish, silver; Todd Kirby, net; Darrell Lutey, senior net; and Dave Haddock, silver net.
— At Legacy match play, Paul Stambaugh won over Cliff Jacobson.
— At Las Vegas Country Club match play, Diane Booth defeated Cynthia Bledsoe and Tyler Martinez defeated Scott Stoner.
Las Vegas Golf Center Golf Madness Month launches Friday through April 14 and features deals on tee times, practice range, food and drinks. The center, located across from Town Square, is home to a lighted 9-hole course and driving range with auto power tees, the new L.I.T. (Local Industry Tavern) and Super Shop featuring Callaway and TaylorMade plus the new Golf-a-Tory swing performance lab.
Stars on, off course
It’s late recognizing this, but Jim Bianco, a UNLV men’s golf foundation member, was named 2018 U.S. Senior Challenge Man of the Year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or @LVGolfInsider.
Upcoming local events
Saturday, Sunday: IMG Junior World qualifier (15-18), Mountain Falls
March 19: SNGA Tour, Painted Desert
March 23, 24: Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort Demo Day
March 25: WSNGA Team Play, Red Rock
April 3: WSNGA Desert Willow Invit., Desert Willow
April 6, 7: SNGA Nye County Am, Mountain Falls
April 8: WSNGA Team Play, Canyon Gate
April 9: UNLV RAF Scholarship Golf Classic, Southern Highlands
April 15: UNLV Football Foundation golf event, Spanish Trail
April 15: SNGA Social Series, Anthem
April 17, 18: IMG Junior World qualifier (9-14), Boulder Creek
April 18: SNGA Tour, Aliante April 22: SNGA Team Play, Palm Valley
April 24: SNGA Rules Seminar, Siena
April 24-27: Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational, Shadow Creek
April 27: Pima Medical Occupation Therapy tournament, Rhodes Ranch
April 28, 29: Nevada State Women’s Partners, Mountain Falls
May 4: Jonathan Ogden Celebrity Classic, Reflection Bay
May 4, 5: SNGA Boulder City Am, Boulder Creek
May 13: U.S. Open Qualifier, Las Vegas Paiute
May 23: SNGA Tour, Chimera