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Wait until 2020 to make an ace to win a car

This is a public service announcement for golfers: Wait until 2020 to make a hole-in-one if it has a major prize attached to the swing and resulting ace.

As of Jan. 1, and contradictory to a rule that has been in place for years, a golfer will now retain amateur status when accepting cash or a prize in a “stand-alone” hole-in-one contest. Previously, a golfer was forced to turn professional if a major prize was accepted. The player’s amateur status could be reinstated, but only after a lengthy process.

Times in golf, they are a changin’, and the United States Golf Association and Royal and Ancient have recently been implementing plenty of alterations to grow the game.

In 2019, they released a comprehensive rules modernization. And on Jan. 1 a new world handicap system goes into effect to make the process more consistent and equitable around the globe.

Then this week the two organizations announced the entire rules regarding amateur status are under review. Plans call for most of the new policies to be announced in late 2021, but the update to hole-in-one rule 3-2b goes into effect much sooner.

“It is hoped the change will help to promote the game and cater to new audiences as well, and eliminate unnecessary restrictions for event organizers,” the USGA and RA stated in a joint release.

As for what will constitute amateur status moving forward, the process of contacting elite amateur golfers, golf event organizers, national golf associations and other industry partners for their opinions and ideas has already begun.

Signings spotlight

Centennial High’s Cole Thompson and Gorman’s Skyler Ngo signed to play golf at San Diego State. Coronado’s Ben Sawaia signed with UNLV.

Faith Lutheran’s Gracie Olkowski signed with UNLV. Also signing with UNLV was Goodyear, Arizona, native Madeline Laux.

Trent down under

UNLV junior Jack Trent, from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, made the cut at the 104th Emirates Australian Open at the Australian Golf Club, finishing 71st.

Shriners champ seeks confidence

Smylie Kaufman, the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, finished tied for 27th at the Australian Open. Kaufman, 28, missed the cut with rounds of 84-76 at the 2019 Shriners and is working to end a major spell of lost confidence.

Following a tie for fourth at the 2017 Sanderson Farms, he missed 25 of his next 27 PGA Tour cuts.

“When you play so bad, for so long, and you’re just trying to figure out what’s going on, it’s like trying to figure out a Rubik’s cube,” Kaufman told the media in Australia.

Weekly deal

Get three rounds of golf plus an annual Southern Nevada Golf Association membership for $109 at SNGA.org. Rounds are at Las Vegas National, Legacy and Revere. Current SNGA members $99.

Junior stars on course

Winners of the American Junior Golf Association Evian International Senior Showcase at Angel Park were: Oihan Guillamoundeguy of Soorts-Hossegor, France; Palm Champion: Jackson Scheen of Austin, Texas. Justin Penor of Henderson finished 38th in the Mountain.

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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