Paiute Golf Resort was ready for its close-up last week, shining in its debut as the venue for the Korn Ferry Tour’s MGM Resorts Championship.
Players, organizers and Paiute staff had nothing but praise for the Sun Mountain course and the tournament, other than some grumbling about the wind that whipped through the unprotected course north of Las Vegas for four straight days.
“Given the time frame we had to work with, it went fantastic,” said Jeff Reid, general manager of the 54-hole resort. “The golf course showed itself really well.”
The event was a late addition to the Korn Ferry Tour schedule, added late last year when the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of two events in the Bahamas. Whether the tournament returns in the future remains uncertain, but it’s a conversation that has already started.
Brooks Downing, CEO of BdG Sports, which ran the tournament, said the coming weeks will decide its future. He said Paiute passed the first big hurdle, which was putting on a successful event.
Still to be decided are how the rest of the Korn Ferry schedule shapes up, and whether MGM Resorts or another sponsor is ready to make a commitment to the tournament.
Event winner Peter Uihlein said Paiute deserves a spot on future schedules.
“This piece of property is fantastic,” Uihlein said. “It’s pretty impressive. We were very fortunate to play out here this week. We’d love to see it come back, absolutely.”
Reid and Downing also would love a return engagement, especially with a full year to prepare. It was about five months — with the holiday season in the middle — from the time the tournament was announced until the final putt dropped.
Despite the sprint, Reid couldn’t be happier with his team, the course and the tournament.
“There were some growing pains, but overall it was almost flawless,” he said.
Paiute will get another chance on a big stage next month when it hosts a U.S. Open qualifier May 17.
Johnson wins APGA event
Kamaiu Johnson won the Advocates Pro Golf Association’s inaugural event at TPC Las Vegas last weekend.
Johnson shot rounds of 68-70 to finish at 4-under 138, one stroke better than Nyasha Mauchaza and two in front of Tommy Schaff.
Johnson birdied the par-4 14th to take the lead and made an 8-foot putt for par on the 18th to avoid a playoff. Johnson, who won $7,500, has three starts on the PGA Tour this year.
The APGA is playing a 10-tournament schedule this year.
LPGA event needs volunteers
Volunteers are being sought from May 24 to 30 for the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek Golf Club.
Volunteers will pay a $65 fee to work the event, and in return will get a tournament polo, hat and more. Sign up at 2021bankofhopelpgavolunteers.my-trs.com/.
Big week for local players
Las Vegas players came close on four tours last weekend.
Maverick McNealy tied for fourth at the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, Inbee Park tied for second at the LPGA Lotte Championship, David Lipsky tied for second at the Korn Ferry Tour’s MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute, and Gigi Stoll finished third at the Symetra Tour’s Casino Del Sol Golf Classic.
The finishes solidified 2022 PGA Tour cards for McNealy and Lipsky. Stoll moved up to eighth on the Symetra Tour money list, with the top five at the end of the season earning their LPGA Tour playing cards.
Greg Robertson is a freelance reporter who covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected]