Grant McKay is about as homegrown as they come when it comes to growing up in the Southern Nevada golf community. Now he has fulfilled a major victory that all area amateurs aspire to as he earned the low amateur at the 2023 Nevada Open played at the CasaBlanca and Palms golf courses in Mesquite. –By Brian Hurlburt, www.lasvegasgolfinsider.com
McKay shot rounds of 74-72-71 to finish +1 and beat Foothill High alum Andrew Hawk for the low amateur status. McKay–and Hawk–grew up playing in the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association and also now play in SNGA tournaments. McKay is also an SNGA staff member who assists with tournaments and also works with the SNJGA.
“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.
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McKay has his eyes set on a possible professional career and is back playing well after dealing with some injuries. In all, he beat about 170 professionals during the Nevada Open, most who missed the cut that he made with a long putt to survive to the final round.
“This is a huge confidence builder,” McKay said. “I made a clutch putt yesterday 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.”
McKay hopes he can parlay the Nevada Open finish and build some momentum.
“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.”
On the professional side, Joshua Anderson won the title and $31,350. Full standings are at this Nevada Open link
The Southern Nevada Golf Association rules officials and operations team were on site to operate the event. The Nevada Open is presented and organized by the CasaBlanca Resort along with sponsors Mesquite Resort Association, Mesquite Gaming, the Eureka Resort and the Virgin River.