It is known as a “major” mini-tour event for a lot of pros who circle the annual Nevada Open in Mesquite, Nev. at the CasaBlanca Resort. A total purse of $150,000 is up for grabs and plenty of hospitality is a part of the vibe. Joshua Anderson won the pro title and $31,350, while Las Vegas’ Grant McKay earned the low amateur trophy. –By Brian Hurlburt
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Anderson, from Goodyear, Ariz., has played in the event a few times and enjoys it. Albeit this year, he will enjoy it a little more following the victory by one shot over Zach Smith. Anderson shot rounds of 72-67-65 to finish 12-under par.
“I’ve played this tournament three or four times now, and Casablanca does a great job,” Anderson said. “The volunteers and staff make this work and we are super appreciative of that. As a pro golfer, it’s nice to come play a tournament that’s organized well and we get a nice place to stay and there’s food right on site. So, that’s probably the best part about this tournament is Casablanca hosting it.”
Here is the final 2023 Nevada Open leaderboard
The first two rounds of the 3-round event were played on the Palms and CasaBlanca courses before a cut was made and the golfers played CasaBlanca in the final round. Anderson said he survived a challenging first round before putting up an electric 65 on the final day.
“The final round I made seven birdies and no bogies,” Anderson said. “I just played solid. I drove it really good. I was in pretty much the fairway all day. I putted well, too. I made some clinical par saves when I did get in trouble, but just hit some good shots. I also played the par fives well. That’s kind of the key on this golf course. Those par fives make it a little easier. But it was a solid day.”
Anderson is a veteran and had a documentary crew from Game Above following him for the three days. It made for quite the story. The documentary is about pros trying to live their PGA Tour dreams and the journey to get there.
“I’ve seen a lot, I’m 35, so I’ve been doing this for a while,” Anderson said. “It’s always fun to win. You don’t win golf tournaments very much, so when you do win, it’s always a good feeling.”
McKay is a true Southern Nevadan, and grew up playing golf in this area. Earning the Low Amateur title was a thrill … and more.
“This is a huge confidence builder,” McKay said. “I made a clutch putt in the second round on 16 from about 20 feet and it was a downhill slider. I made the cut on the number. I’m very proud of this accomplishment. It is super cool to represent the amateurs in this field and I am grateful to the Nevada Open and all of the staff and team for running such a great event.”
The victory should help him on his mission to play professional golf. McKay fired rounds of 74-72-71 to finish +1 and T49. He beat about 170 professionals for the week.
“I think it’s going to open a few doors hopefully, but at the least, it will give me some confidence to start playing in some big events,” McKay said. “I proved to myself that I can definitely compete. I played really well in the final round. I kept the ball in front of me. Now I have to keep the confidence going.”
McKay is also a staffer for the Southern Nevada Golf Association, which helps the CasaBlanca operate the Nevada Open. He also works with the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association.
“The SNGA does such a good job all year round running events, and to be a part and what they’re doing and also to represent them as a player at the Nevada Open is a really cool thing,” McKay said.
The Nevada Open is sponsored by the CasaBlanca, Virgin River, Mesquite Gaming, Mesquite Resort Association and the Eureka Casino Resort. The CasaBlanca is a LasVegasGolfInsider.com partner.
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