Former UNLV golf star Taylor Montgomery established a new Shadow Creek course record of 60 on Dec. 2, 2022, but according to Darren Woolard, his PGA Tour caddie and playing partner that day, the round could have been much better. Here’s the inside look at the record round that cements Montgomery’s name in Shadow Creek lore along with Tiger Woods and Fred Couples. –By Brian Hurlburt, founder, www.LasVegasGolfInsider.com
“He just always hit the hole with every putt,” Woolard says. “He lipped out on holes one, three and eight, and also 10 and 17. Every putt he hit looked dead center. His eagle on 18 was from 22 feet and almost in the dark. It was moving so fast it would have rolled off the green, but it hit dead center.”
And after the scintillating eagle, the 60 was complete with nines of 31-29. He broke the previous course record of 62 shot by himself and fellow former Rebel Jack Trent. The course record prior to a major course renovation was 60 by Couples and Woods.
“It was a lot of fun and was just one of those rounds where you keep making birdies and it doesn’t feel like anything special,” Montgomery says. “It was probably after hole 13 when I started to think about what was happening. That is a really hard hole at Shadow, so when I hit a 4-iron to about four feet and made birdie there, I kind of knew I had a good chance to break the course record.”
The par 3, 13th measures 257 from the tips at Shadow Creek and Montgomery was 8-under following his third birdie in a row. Possibly the only thing standing between he and legendary status at the Tom Fazio course was fading daylight.
“The last couple holes I will never forget because it was almost dark,” Montgomery says. “I was 10-under par after 16 and then I hit it close on 17, about 10 feet, but lipped it out. And then on 18 it was really dark, but I hit a good tee shot and hit a really good iron shot in there about 20 feet. I had a difficult, downhill putt and it was really dark. It’s a good thing that I’ve played out there a hundred times, so I already knew how the putt would break. The 20 footer just disappeared for eagle and that was a nice feeling.”
Also in the group was Erik Mathewson, a mini-tour player who can take it low on any given day. He was the one who tipped me off to the record round. Mathewson said Montgomery’s round was a “pretty easy 60” and something speical to witness. Mathewson carded a 77 while Woolard shot 80. Grant Booth, a good friend of Montgomery and Korn Ferry Tour player, shot 72 and still lost by 12.
Also in the group was Taylor’s father, Monte, Shadow Creek’s general manager and a former UNLV golfer. The players made some friendly wagers, and Taylor said a nice part of the 60 was getting some money back from Woolard. Montgomery ranks 11th on the PGA Tour Fed Ex Cup standings heading into 2023 and Woolard has been collecting very nice–and big–checks from his boss for his work on the bag.
During the PGA Tour holiday break, Montgomery has been fine-tuning his game and is scheduled to play the Sony Open in Hawaii in January to get the new year rolling.
“I just want to keep doing the same things I was doing during the fall,” Montgomery says. “The only expectations I have is to try my hardest, which has really always been my main focus. I’ve been taking some time off, but still practicing and keeping a club in my hands. I have been chipping quite a bit, but I haven’t been putting as much as I need to. I will start that when we get back going in the new year. I’ve also been trying to clean up my iron game a little bit.”
Montgomery, a PGA Tour rookie, says he never wants to take a hole off and has quickly learned how a few holes–even when out of contention–can make a huge difference.
“The first thing that I think about the fall is my finish in Napa,” says Montgomery about the Fortinet Championship, his first official start when he finished third and rocketed up the leaderboard during the final round. “Those last two holes of finishing birdie, birdie were a great way to finish for me and got my season going. Anytime you’re in the top 10 or top 15 and you convert the last two holes, you are going to make a lot of extra money because a lot of times the leaderboards are pretty bunched up.”
Finish like a Rebel was always a mantra for his college coach, Dwaine Knight.
It appears Montgomery listened and is doing just that on the PGA Tour–and during a record round at the prestigious and infamous Shadow Creek.
About Shadow Creek
Shadow Creek is a Tom Fazio design owned and operated by MGM Resorts International. From the official website, “Perhaps you’ve never heard tales of this legendary place sculpted from the Nevada desert by renowned architect Tom Fazio. May we assure you, descriptions, however grand, do not begin to do this masterpiece justice. Shadow Creek must be played. Shadow Creek must be experienced. Only then can true lovers of the game begin to appreciate its breathtaking beauty.”
Golfers who stay at MGM Resorts properties can gain access to Shadow Creek.