There is a certain “it” factor at the annual Southern Highlands Collegiate, the home tournament of the UNLV men’s golf team.
A who’s who of PGA Tour stars played in the tournament as college golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore, Billy Mayfair, Charley Hoffman, Patrick Rodgers, Camilo Villegas and many others.
This year’s tournament, to be played Monday through Wednesday, features another deep field highlighted by Rebels senior Shintaro Ban, who is on the Fred Haskins watch list. The Haskins award is considered the Heisman Trophy of college golf.
Others on the list scheduled to play include the top two golfers in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, Justin Suh from Southern California and Davis Riley from Alabama. Also playing are Fredrik Nilehn of Texas Tech, Sahith Theegala of Pepperdine and Brad Dalke of Oklahoma.
Teams playing (with national Golfweek ranking in parentheses) are Oklahoma (No. 4), Alabama (7), Florida (8), Texas Tech (10), USC (17), Illinois (19), Pepperdine (23), UCLA (24), Brigham Young (33), Northwestern (36), Texas Christian (37), UNLV (47), Central Florida (50), Washington (77) and Southern Methodist (110).
The Rebels have won the tournament 11 times, the last one in 2014. During a stretch from 2005 to 2014, they won the tournament seven times, and two Rebels — Matt Kinsinger (2006) and Blake Biddle (2012) — claimed individual titles.
While UNLV’s lineup for the tournament isn’t official, the Rebels should be led by Ban, junior Harry Hall, freshman Jack Trent, freshman Garrick Higgo and sophomore Justin Kim.
That lineup won the National Invitational Tournament on Monday in Tucson, Arizona. Ban was the individual champion, Higgo finished fifth, Trent sixth, and Hall and Kim tied for 12th.
“It’s been a long time coming that UNLV has made a run at the Southern Highlands Collegiate title, and it’s about time we made another one,” UNLV assistant coach Philip Rowe said. “This is a championship year for us, so we need to be looking at being in the thick of the competition down the stretch.”
USC is the two-time defending champion. The event is open to the public.
The Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association 2017 players of the year were Riana Mission, Rebecca Oertal, Cameron Gambini and Jackson Parrish. Sportspersons of the Year were Hunter Pate, Kyndall Newman, Sam Baral and Noah MacFawn.
Learn to golf junior instruction classes start at eight area courses this week. The series of four lessons are $75. Information is at SouthernNevadaJuniorGolf.com.
Stars on, off course
Colorado’s Eagle Wynne McMahon won the Las Vegas Challenge at Wildhorse, the first event of the 2018 Professional Disc Golf Association season.
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 email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.
Monday, Tuesday: Nevada State Women’s Golf Association Partners, Revere
Monday, Tuesday: UNLV women’s golf, Wildcat Invitational, Tucson, Ariz.
Monday-Wednesday: UNLV men’s golf, Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands
March 9, 10: UNLV men’s golf, Jackrabbit Invitational, Boulder Creek
March 10, 11: SNGA Summerlin Amateur, Highland Falls, Palm Valley
March 11: Golf Channel Southwest Open, Rhodes Ranch
March 12, 13: UNLV women’s golf, Jackrabbit Invitational, Boulder Creek
March 19: SNGA Tour, Desert Pines
March 23-25: UNLV women’s golf, PING/ASU Invitational, Scottsdale, Ariz.
March 29-31: UNLV men’s golf, The Goodwin, San Francisco
April 8-10: UNLV women’s golf, Silverado Showdown, Napa, Calif.
April 9: SNGA Short Game Championship, Desert Willow
April 14, 15: UNLV men’s golf, The Thunderbird, Phoenix
April 17: SNGA Tour, Nevada state qualifier, Aliante
April 17: UNLV Football Foundation Tournament, Spanish Trail
April 18-21: Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational, Shadow Creek
April 28, 29: SNGA Nye County Championship, Mountain Falls
International Federation of PGA Tours
What: World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
When: Thursday, Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon (Golf Channel), noon-3 p.m. (KSNV-3). Sunday, 9-11 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (KSNV-3).
Where: Chapultepec Golf Club (par 71), Mexico City.
Purse: $10 million. Winner’s share: $1.8 million.
Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.
What: HSBC Women’s World Championship.
When: Wednesday, 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Golf Channel). Thursday, Friday, 9-11:30 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 7:30-11:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: Sentosa Golf Club, Tanjong Course (6,718 yards, par 72), Singapore.
Purse: $1.5 million. Winner’s share: $225,000.
Defending champion: Inbee Park.
Last week: Jessica Korda won the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Next tournament: Bank of Hope Founders Cup, March 15-18.
PGA Tour Champions
What: Cologuard Classic.
When: Friday, 4-6 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, Sunday, 1:30-4 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: Omni Tucson National, Catalina Course (7,238 yards, par 73), Tucson, Ariz.
Purse: $1.7 million. Winner’s share: $255,000.
Defending champion: Tom Lehman.
Last tournament: Joe Durant won the Chubb Classic.
Next week: Toshiba Classic.