Preston Stanley, from Katy, Texas, is chasing the PGA Tour dream via Monday qualifiers, but made a pitstop in Mesquite, Nev. and won the $150,000 Nevada Open played at the Palms and Casablanca golf courses. He finished at -14 to beat Vegas pro Van Thomas by one shot, and earned $31,350 for the victory. The low amateur was former Univ. of Oregon golfer Yin Ho Hue. –By Brian Hurlburt
Stanley stormed back from a few shots off the pace with a final round 9-under 63, which followed a not-so-stellar 71 in round two. It was a rewarding victory that came after a lot of travel with more journeys to come. The final round was played on a Thursday and he was scheduled to work back in Texas at 6:30 a.m. on Friday morning.
“This win means that a lot of hard work has paid off,” Stanley said. “I’ve come close a couple times this year and I played well in the Oklahoma Open, so to finish this one off with a win is very nice. In round two, I had a couple bad holes at the end, but today was a lot better. I finished strong through the end. This win is definitely one of the top five moments in my career. Like I said, it’s a grind. I got here at two o’clock in the morning before the final round, had no practice round, and I just went out and played. This is very satisfying.”
The Nevada Open has a long history of champions and other players who have gone on to play at the next level including Tom Lehman and previous two-time defending champion Taylor Montgomery (2020-21), a former UNLV golfer. Montgomery is now fully exempt on the PGA Tour and was 9th in the FedEx Cup rankings through Nov. 12, 2022.
Golfers from all over the United States, Canada and other countries annually make the trek to Mesquite seeking the Nevada Open jackpot.
Stanley will soon be back on the road again as he heads to Georgia and Brunswick Country Club for the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic qualifier.
“I fly out again on Saturday to go to Brunswick, so this is kind of busy stretch here in these two weeks, but hopefully I can keep the momentum going and get into the RSM Classic,” Stanley said.
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The combination of a large purse, a quality field of pros and the hospitality of Mesquite combine to make the Nevada Open a quality stop for aspiring pros. Christian Adderson, tournament director and CasaBlanca Resort assistant general manager, is continually impressed with the high-level golf.
“The Nevada Open has been an important launching point for a lot of careers in professional golf and we’ve seen a lot of great names come through over the years and this year was no different,” Adderson said. “This year, we had some past champions come back like Bob May, Greg Bruckner, and Tom Whitney. Those players and the other players supporting the event means the world to us and it shows the respect the Nevada Open has due to its longevity and quality.”
The players not enjoy the competition, but the Mesquite setting has become a favorite.
“It seems like I play well over here when I come and I think I finished ninth a couple years ago and I love it here,” Stanley said. “The golf courses are great, always in good shape, and the field is always strong. It’s a good tournament.”
Hue, the low amateur with a T5 finish, enjoyed his time in Mesquite and it will prove to be a nice stepping stone as he also works to turn professional and chase his dream.
“Everything was great and I love the hospitality here,” Hue said. “The whole committee did a great job with setting us up at the Casablanca Resort and everything. I love this course. It’s a good track and the greens were rolling really well. I enjoyed the whole experience.”
For runner up Thomas, a Vegas native, it was bittersweet to not win after firing a final-round 66, but he still always enjoys coming to Mesquite for the Nevada Open.
“I love being out here and they do such a good job with rules officials, with the host housing at the CasaBlanca, and everything else,” Thomas said. “Everybody gets a room included in the entry fee, which is a bonus. It’s a really good event.”
Event such as the Nevada Open and others continues to up the ante for Mesquite as an international golf destination.
“Mesquite is a golf destination known worldwide and hosting Nevada Open is very important to us,” Adderson said. “We host a lot of great events like the Nevada Open and I think being able to do that is a testament to our reputation as a golf destination. We were fortunate to host a U.S. Open qualifier earlier this year and we annually host the Mesquite Amateur, the second largest amateur event in the nation. We also have our two-man tournaments that are sold out with more than 150 teams and the Nevada Open always has a wait list of 30 players. These type of events and the popularity of them reinforce what everyone is hearing about Mesquite. You can come here and have a great recreational weekend of great golf or you can also come here and compete in some of the top tournaments that you can find anywhere in the country.”
Mesquite and the CasaBlanca are also the host facilities for the first stage of 2023 PGA Tour Champions qualifying school from Nov. 16-19.
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