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Coyote Moon hosts PGA qualifier

Christina Nelson
Photo by Christina NelsonGolfer Brad Bell, designer of Coyote Moon, signs his car Monday.
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In one round of golf, 73 players from all over the country attempted to go from amateur to professional Monday at the Coyote Moon Golf Course.

The PGA Reno-Tahoe Open qualifier drew golfers from all over California and Nevada, and as far away as Florida and South Carolina.

Four players will play at Montreaux Golf and Country Club today in an attempt to qualify for the open.

Bill Keller of Mountain View, Calif. shot the low score of the day with a 69, and David Morland of Orlando, Fla. shot a 70.

Mark Wurst of La Quinta, Calif. and Richard Pride of Windermere, Fla. qualified after a playoff for the third and fourth spots.

Wurst, Pride and T.J. Duncan of Carson City all shot a 71.

Although it’s a great chance for an amateur to jump into the PGA tour, often the competition is tough when there are players at the qualifier who are career golfers.

“We just have different career goals,” said Rick Vaughan of Dayton, Nev. “We try to be competitive, but we don’t play for a living.”

Vaughan said this is the first qualifier he’s played in and decided to do so because he got a sponsor.

He knew his score of 80 wouldn’t place him in the top four, but said he didn’t expect to qualify since he hasn’t played competitively for the last seven or eight years.

“I just go out there and try to make some good shots,” Vaughan said. “It’s tough because this is just one round. There’s not a lot of room for error.”

Vaughn played and coached golf at the University of Nevada, Reno in the early 90s.

“Some of us have played on the tour. For some of us, it’s just a dream,” he said.

Brad Bell, designer of the Coyote Moon course, shot a 73 – just two short of the playoff.

Bell had played on the PGA tour from 1991-1992. This year he qualified for the Los Angeles Open.

Bell plays in about half a dozen qualifiers a year, but isn’t as competitive as he used to be.

He said he may have had an advantage Monday since he designed the course, but admitted he doesn’t play often enough to have much of a chance to qualify.

“I played one over par – respectable but it won’t make it. I don’t play often enough,” he said.

“These guys are getting better and better,” Bell said. “It’s hard to keep up with them.”

Last year’s Reno-Tahoe Open was held at Coyote Moon Golf Course.


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