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Tiger Woods rises as favorite to win Masters

Updated March 20, 2018 - 1:53 pm

March Madness is not just happening on the basketball court during the NCAA Tournament. There is plenty of excitement in golf as well. Here are some top Vegas golf news, notes and anecdotes:

Tiger enters as favorite

A few months ago, you could bet Tiger Woods to win the 2018 Masters at 100-1. Not so today. According to Westgate sports book golf odds expert Jeff Sherman, Tiger is at 8-1 and ahead of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, who are each 10-1.

“We have already surpassed last year’s Masters handle, which was an all-time tournament record for golf, with more than two weeks remaining,” Sherman said. “Tiger represents our largest liability, which is part of the reason his odds are a little shorter than other golfers with similar course productivity.”

Out of the Park

Bishop Gorman product Inbee Park, the 2004 and 2005 Nevada state champion, won the LPGA Tour Bank of Hope Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix. It was her first victory since the HSBC Women’s Champions last March.

Park ended her 2017 season in August and had pondered retiring to start a family. Those plans have evolved.

“When I was taking the long break [last year], I was thinking, ‘I think I can do this life as well,’” Park told the media following her victory. “… I love the breaks. Just really refreshes me.”

Hahn makes LPGA debut

Green Valley product Jennifer Hahn also played in Phoenix and made her LPGA Tour debut as a sponsor exemption. Prior to the tournament, she threw out the first pitch of a Royals and Padres spring training game.

“It was an awesome week,” Hahn said. “Unfortunately, my game wasn’t as sharp as I wanted, and I ended up shooting even par both days and missed the cut by one. I feel really confident for this season and it was a great experience for me.”

Her next event is the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii starting April 11.

Kevin Na returns

Las Vegas resident Kevin Na was back in action at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida after withdrawing from the Valspar Championship the week prior with a neck injury. He finished tied for 36th and is 49th in the FedEx Cup rankings.

Na was supported by a group of friends wearing t-shirts with slogans such as, “Miss the cut? Naaaaa!” and “Kevin Na: worth the wait!”

#VegasStrong

A.J. McInerney, a Coronado and UNLV product who escaped injury during the 1 October shooting, played at Bay Hill on a sponsor’s exemption. He finished 2 over par and missed the cut.

Rebels unite

The final-round pairing of former Rebels Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman at Bay Hill caught the eye of UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois, who on Sunday morning tweeted, “I know what I am doing today at 11 AM … let’s go. #FinishLikeARebel.”

Moore won the battle of UNLV alums with a round of 71 to finish T5. Hoffman shot 74 and finished T14.

Support junior golf

The Nevada Big Give is Thursday and the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association is seeking donations. The organization offers affordable golf to Southern Nevada youth including learn-to-golf clinics and a college prep tour. Go to NVbiggive.org.

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 bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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