For what this writer believes is the first time in Vegas golf history, the Korn Ferry Tour (or any of its previous renditions) is being played in Las Vegas, as the MGM Resorts Championship at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort is scheduled to tee off Thursday, April 15. A strong contingent of Las Vegas golfers, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, the Pete Dye-designed Sun Mountain and the dazzling MGM title sponsorship are all ready for the professional golf spotlight. –By Brian Hurlburt, LasVegasGolfInsider.com.
Among the players with strong ties to Las Vegas in the field are former UNLV golfers and residents Harry Hall, John Oda and Taylor Montgomery, Derek Ernst (UNLV), as well as residents Alex Kang and David Lipsky. Also in the field is Justin Suh, who moved to Las Vegas in 2020 and is believed to still be a resident, and Sangmoon Bae, who plays out of Las Vegas. Jamie Lovemark is believed to have at one point lived in Las Vegas but no longer does. Tom Whitney doesn’t live in Las Vegas but won the 2015 Nevada Open, played in Mesquite, 77 miles north of Las Vegas. Alex Prugh is an alternate and at one time lived in Las Vegas.
As for the Palmer family, Sam Palmer Saunders, grandson of Palmer, qualified with a 7-under par 64 at the historic Las Vegas National Golf Club. The power of Palmer might have been a help as grandfather played the course many times during his career, including finishing runner-up in the PGA Tour’s Sahara Invitational twice (1966 and 1972).
The legend of Pete Dye will also be on display as the players compete on the Sun Mountain course, one of three Pete Dye signature courses at the resort. The other two are Snow Mountain and the Wolf, which are open while the event is played on Sun Mountain, so make a day of it and watch and play. Limited VIP tickets may still be available at https://mgmresortschampionship.com/
“We are extremely excited and humbled to be a part of bringing another world class event to the city of Las Vegas and look forward to watching the next Tour stars tackle the Sun Mountain course,” said Paiute general manager Jeff Reid.
And MGM Resorts continues their strong support of golf as the title sponsor of the tournament, and several players will be representing the brand, including Montgomery, Lipsky, Kang, Suh, Oda and Hall. Other MGM ambassadors on the PGA Tour or LPGA Tour include Danielle Kang, Natalie Gulbis, Max Homa, Michelle Wie West and Kevin Na, among several others. The unofficial pro-am was played at Shadow Creek on Tuesday, prior to the official pro-am at the Paiute on Wednesday.
“The Korn Ferry Tour has quickly become one of the sport’s leading Tours, providing some of the world’s best golfers the opportunity to qualify for the PGA Tour,” said Lance Evans, MGM Resorts International’s Senior Vice President of Sports & Sponsorships, upon securing the sponsorship. “The April tournament will showcase why Las Vegas is the leading sports and hospitality destination for championship events.”