Junior Samantha Fuller paced UNLV women’s golf with a sixth-finish at the Rebel Beach Invitational played at the team’s home course, Spanish Trail, on Monday and Tuesday. Overall, the Rebels finished ninth.
The tournament was co-hosted by UNLV and Long Beach State, and was the first spring competition for Rebels. Third-ranked Southern California won by 22 strokes over Fresno State. USC’s Gabriella Ruffels and Allisen Corpuz finished first and second, respectively.
In October, the Rebels won the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown at Boulder Creek and freshman Elena Saksa won her first individual title. Saksa finished 39th at the Rebel Beach, while Meadows High product and Rebels sophomore Veronica Joels finished 28th.
“I am very excited for Sami to come out and start the spring strong,” UNLV coach Amy Bush-Herzer said. “As a team, we ended the fall on a high note, but after a finish like this, we have some things to learn and that is what is exciting about coaching; teaching these young athletes.”
Annick Haczkiewicz, a Palo Verde product and Brigham Young sophomore, finished 10th. Hunter Pate, a Bishop Gorman product and Long Beach State sophomore, finished 41st.
Wright’s Vegas legacy
World Golf Hall of Famer Mickey Wright, 85, died Monday. She won 82 LPGA Tour events and 13 majors, including a stretch of 44 wins from 1961-64. Two of those victories came at the 1961 and 1963 LPGA Championship, which was played at the Stardust Country Club, now Las Vegas National.
“Bringing the LPGA Championship — a major — to Las Vegas was a coup, especially in those days,” Las Vegas and Stardust course developer Irwin Molasky said a few years ago. “It was another coup to have a lady like Mickey Wright win that first tournament.
“She was the best player and had been around for many years. I played with her in the pro-am, and she just told me how fantastic the event and course was. She was glad to be here and all of the ladies loved Las Vegas.”
She retired from full-time competition in 1969 when she was 34. No telling how many times she could have won.
Wright won the LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open in 1959. That began a seven-year stretch in which she won 59 times and 12 majors. She won at least 10 times a year for four successive years, and she still holds the LPGA Tour record for 13 wins in a single season.
“In her time, because of her enormous skill, she got the LPGA a lot of kudos from men in the game,” Rankin said Monday night from her home in Texas. “That’s happening a lot more today. In that time, it didn’t happen at all. In Mickey, I think the men saw something else. That was really good for us.”
Taylor Montgomery and John Oda stand 14th and 15th respectively on the Korn Ferry Tour money list at this early stage in the season. The Top 25 at season’s end (August 30) advance to the PGA Tour.
Montgomery closed with a 64 on Sunday to finish second at the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Montgomery, a multiple champion of Major Series of Putting events in Las Vegas, ranks fifth in putting, 17th in driving distance (312 yards) and 18th in scoring average (69.72) on the tour.
Former UNLV golfer Adam Scott won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in Los Angeles on Sunday. It was his 14th PGA Tour victory. In the last 20 years, only Scott, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els have at least 10 wins on both the European Tour and PGA Tour.
Junior stars, on course
The 2019 Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association players of the year were Rivers Common, girls 12-14; Natalie Cheong, girls 15-18; Bradley Bourn, boys 12-14; and Jackson Parrish, boys, 15-18.
Associated Press contributed to this report. 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.
Upcoming area events
Wednesday: SNJGA Awards Banquet, Bear’s Best
Wednesday: USGA 4-Ball Women’s Qualifier, Mountain Falls
Thursday: USGA 4- Ball Men’s Qualifier, Mountain Falls
Feb. 20-23: Las Vegas Pro Disc Challenge, Wildhorse
Feb. 25: SNGA Tour, Royal Links
Feb. 24-26: Vegas World Amateur, Revere and Chimera
Feb. 29-Mar 1: Recruit Look LV Kickoff Event, Las Vegas GC
March 1-3: UNLV men, Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands
April 3: UNLV Rebel Girls tournament, LV National
April 15-18: Derek Jeter Celebrity Inviational, Shadow Creek
April 23-26: Westgate Resorts Celebrity Classic, LV Country Club
April 27: UNLV Football Foundation, Spanish Trail
May 4: Epicurean Charitable Foundation, Canyon Gate
May 16: Italian American Club tournament, Las Vegas National
June 1: AJGA Junior-Am, Reflection Bay
International Federation of PGA Tours
What: World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
Where: Mexico City; Chapultepec GC (7,355 yards, par 71).
When: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 9-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (KSNV-3); Sunday, 10-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel), 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (KSNV-3).
Purse: $10.5 million. Winner’s share: $1,787,560.
Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.
What: Puerto Rico Open.
Where: Rio Grande, Puerto Rico; Coco Beach Golf & CC (7,506 yards, par 72).
When: Thursday-Friday, 7:30-10:30 a.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Purse: $3 million. Winner’s share: $540,000.
Defending champion: Martin Trainer.
FedEx Cup leader: Justin Thomas.
— By The Associated Press