UNLV’s John Oda caps year with All-America honor, US Open spot

Updated June 7, 2017 - 2:04 pm

The golf season was special for UNLV and junior John Oda.

The men’s team reached the elite eight of the NCAA championships and won the West Lafayette Regional and Mountain West tournament. The Rebels finished the year ranked 12th in the country.

Oda became the first UNLV player since Ryan Moore in 2005 to claim first-team All-America status. Shorty thereafter, Oda shot rounds of 64 and 68 at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, California, to qualify for the U.S. Open from June 15-18 at Erin Hills Golf Club in Wisconsin.

“It was a great year for me personally, but what made it more special was the year our team had,” Oda said. “As a team, we just kept improving, and with everyone playing well, we all motivated each other to stay at a high level. We kept rolling after winter break, and it snowballed into the great finish in final eight at the NCAA finals.”

Oda, a Hawaii native, also was named the Mountain West golfer of the year and was joined on the all-conference squad by teammates Shintaro Ban and Harry Hall. UNLV coach Dwaine Knight was named conference coach of the year.

Since he was a freshman, Oda has been ranked in the top 50 in college golf. He plays a lot with Moore and Kevin Na.

With all of his success, Oda faces a difficult decision about whether to return to UNLV for his senior year or turn professional. Na was quoted recently in Golfweek urging his protege to go pro.

“I am definitely remaining an amateur throughout the summer, and I hope to qualify and represent the United States in the Walker Cup,” Oda said. “What I have been telling people is that I will make the decision that is best for me to get better and continue to improve.”

Oda added that he’s probably leaning toward turning pro.

Golf, beer fest hit TaylorMade

A combination golf demo day and craft beer fest will be Friday and Saturday at TaylorMade Golf Experience across from Town Square. The event includes demo clubs from TaylorMade, Callaway, Mizuno and PXG, plus taste brews from Goose Island, Shock Top and others. Price of admission includes a round at Chimera Golf Club, plus a two-for-one round on the nine-hole, lighted course at TaylorMade.

Deal of the week

For a limited time, the Southern Nevada Golf Association is offering rounds at Las Vegas National and Coyote Springs for $69, or add Royal Links and get all three for $99. Visit SNGA.org for details.

Shriners update

PGA Tour fans can get two tickets for the price of one to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open through June 19 in honor of Father’s Day. The 35th annual tournament is scheduled for Nov. 3 to 6 at TPC Summerlin.

Also, tournament organizers are accepting new volunteers. Call 702-873-1010 or visit ShrinersHospitalsOpen.com.

Senior pro wins Colorado Open

Jeff Gallagher, a teaching professional at Legacy, won the Colorado Senior Open. He won $8,500 and a spot in the Colorado Open this summer.

Stars on, off course

Eric Dutt, vice president of golf operations at Rio Secco and Cascata, gave the induction speech for Butch Harmon at the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame ceremony Friday at Orleans Arena.

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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