The 4th Annual Las Vegas World Amateur golf tournament is in the books drawing attention to amateur golfers as well as seven Las Vegas area golf courses. Amateur golfer Danny Slone has played in each previous tournament, but finally broke through for the overall victory after the final championship round was played at Bear’s Best Las Vegas, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. In each of the last three years, Slone finished in the top 10 but finally claimed the Grand Champion trophy this year.
The tournament attracted 148 golfers representing 30 states and four countries. There were seven divisions and nine flights.
“The reason we created the event was to reach out to other golf associations around the country and around the world and let them see what Las Vegas golf has to offer,” said Ann Sunstrum, executive director of the Southern Nevada Golf Association. “We hope to continue to grow the tournament. We’re using word-of-mouth and hoping the players tell their friends what a great experience they had.”
Slone, from Amarillo, Texas, put together handicap-adjusted rounds of 66-70-66-64 for a four-round total of 266 and a 12-stroke victory. It was his consistency in this event that helped him win the crown, which was important, but just being in Las Vegas and experiencing the tournament made it all worth it for him.
“It’s been a great time and a great event every time I’ve played,” said Slone. “The golf courses are really challenging and you meet a lot of great people. I’ve got four or five friends I’ll try to get to come back and play next year. They tell me ‘but you haven’t won yet.’ Well, now I have. So we’ll see if they come up and try to beat me. It’s about time that I won, for sure. I tied for fourth, placed sixth and tied for seventh over the last three years. It was nice to finally get a win.”
Overall, his trip around Bear’s Best was one of his most memorable. “This course really fits my game and my eye very well,” he said. It was the 11th hole that boosted his confidence, plus a thought about Lee Trevino.
“The 11th was my only birdie and it felt great,” he said. “I hit the fairway and then hit my second shot to about 8-to-10 feet. I looked over the putt and then thought about Lee Trevino. I remember him saying ‘When you’re ready, read it and hit it.’ It wasn’t an easy putt, but it went in.”
After that it was just consistency. “I wasn’t sure if I could hold on but I played solid all the way in.”
The last day’s Final Round Champion was Theo Van Tunen from White Rock, BC. He carded a net final round 63 to edge Slone by a stroke. “I was just solid all day,” Van Tunen said. “Everything went well. I didn’t get in any trouble. I hit a lot of fairways, but not many greens. But I had a lot of one putts for par and that helped a lot.”
The event has incorporated many of the courses in the Las Vegas area. In addition to the final at Bear’s Best Las Vegas, this year’s group included both Angel Park courses (Mountain and Palm), both Revere courses (Concord and Lexington), Desert Pines, and Painted Desert.