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MGM Resorts tourney start of key stretch for ex-UNLV golfer

Updated April 13, 2021 - 2:29 pm

In January, Harry Hall got a glimpse of what he hopes will be his future in golf.

Playing on sponsor exemptions, the UNLV graduate was in the field for the PGA Tour’s American Express event outside Palm Springs and the European Tour’s Saudi International. Along the way, he played practice rounds with Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka, and he soaked in the experience.

“I’m a guy that gets the most out of any situation,” he said. “I’m not afraid to ask questions and learn.”

This week, Hall is back in more familiar surroundings, playing on the Korn Ferry Tour in the inaugural MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute. It’s the first event in an 11-week stretch that will most likely determine whether Hall will make the jump next season to the PGA Tour.

The top 25 players at the end of the season earn their PGA Tour playing privileges for 2022. Hall sits at No. 72 in the standings, which combine the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

“I’ve played consistently average so far,” he said of the first three 2021 tournaments. “I made all three cuts, but there’s been no fireworks.”

A home game might be the recipe Hall needs to make a move up the points list.

“Paiute would be a great place to find some form,” he said. “I’d like to win it.”

The key, he said, is patience, taking it one shot at a time and boosting his greens in regulation numbers, something that might be difficult on the small greens at Paiute’s Sun Mountain course. Hall hits about 65 percent for the year, and he’d like that number around 78 percent.

“Over the course of the week, that’s missing 13 greens instead of 25,” he theorized. “That’s 12 more chances at birdies.”

As one of the better putters on tour, more opportunities would easily help his chances to score.

Hall’s short game prowess started as a youngster, playing West Cornwall Golf Club in St. Ives, England. It’s the course where Jim Barnes refined a game that led to four major championships and a Hall of Fame career in the early 20th century.

Another member of that club, Philip Rowe, is the reason Hall ended up in Las Vegas. Rowe had been the assistant coach at UNLV and recruited him. The Englishmen made a great pair, as Hall had four stellar years as a Rebel, ending with being named Mountain West Golfer of the Year in 2019, and Rowe became head coach at Cal Poly.

Along the way, Hall fell in love with Las Vegas, met his girlfriend Jordan at UNLV, and chose to stay after graduation with his degree in sociology.

He’ll be sleeping in his own bed during a professional tournament for the first time in his career this week. He hopes that pays dividends at Paiute, where he can focus on golf in familiar surroundings.

Staying focused on what is in front of him is key, even though a PGA Tour card is the goal.

“My game is good enough, and I have a lot of heart,” he said of his chances of reaching that dream. “The next step is winning.”

Chip Shots

— Eight players made the field for the MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute in Monday qualifiers. At Boulder Creek GC, Lukas Euler shot 62 to lead the way. Joining him are Hayden Springer, Sahith Theegala and Chad Hambright, who all shot 64. At Las Vegas National, Daniel Wetterich (63), Luke Kwon (63), Sam Saunders (64) and Nick Mason (64) made it in.

— James Logeman shot 69 to win the championship bracket of the SNGA Tour event at Desert Pines last week. Other winners included Michael Haas (Championship Net), Glenn Hogle (Senior Gross), Douglas Pool (Senior Net), Steven Fink (Silver Gross) and Jack Schwartz (Silver Net).

Greg Robertson is a freelance reporter who covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at robertsongt@gmail.com.

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