A.J. McInerney, a Vegas shooting survivor, posts special showing in PGA Tour debut

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A.J. McInerney, a Vegas shooting survivor, posts special showing in PGA Tour debut

PGA Tour

A.J. McInerney, a Vegas shooting survivor, posts special showing in PGA Tour debut

Competing in your first career PGA Tour event in your hometown? What a dream come true.

A.J. McInerney got that opportunity this week via a sponsor invite and did something truly special. The 24-year-old had a banner Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, closing in 6-under 30 at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

The clutch back nine boosted him to a 6-under total (he shot 4-under 67 in the final round) and eventually a T-10 finish. What a performance in your PGA Tour debut at home!

The top-10 showing actually earned McInerney a spot in next week’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba, although he will decline it in order to compete in second stage of Web.com Tour Q-School. (McInerney is looking to regain his Web.com Tour card after a 97th-place finish on the circuit’s money list in his 2017 rookie season there.)

But his story goes much deeper. McInerney is a Las Vegas native and went to school at UNLV. And on Oct. 1, he was at the scene of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history to that point.

Yes, as you may already know, McInerney is a Las Vegas shooting survivor.

McInerney, who was there that night with his girlfriend and her brother, expressed right after that he was lucky to be. He has continued to believe it since.

“I don’t mind talking about (that night) because I’m not physically hurt, just emotionally shaken,” McInerney said last month, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Hopefully what I say can help others who weren’t as fortunate as we were. I wake up every day and wonder, ‘Why did I get so lucky, and why did we get so lucky?’ ”

McInerney has been deemed a hero for how he acted that night, as he shielded his girlfriend as bullets rained down and gave a ride to strangers at the scene when he and his party reached his car to drive away from the chaos.

As the New York Times noted, though, being there that night has emotional repercussions. McInerney couldn’t sleep for three days after the shooting and said that noises that sound like firecrackers can startle him. It’s one of a few triggers that instantly bring him back to that night.

It’s remarkable then that just a month after that traumatic event, McInerney didn’t only compete in a PGA Tour event but he also thrived in it.

Looking to make the most of his sponsor invite, McInerney would’ve done well just to make the cut considering this was his first PGA Tour start as well.

Closing in 30 and posting a top 10 in front of his hometown fans is the cherry on top of a week McInerney will never forget.

And what he saw at TPC Summerlin this week gives him optimism for his hometown’s future.

“It was cool to have a lot of local fans out supporting me with a reason to smile and have fun in the midst of the last month,” McInerney told Golf Digest. “I was nervous, I’m not going to lie, but playing for Las Vegas feels amazing. This week is a win for Las Vegas in so many ways.”

And it certainly was for McInerney, too.

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