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60 - A New Course Record and a Ticket to Pebble Beach
By Kelsey Chugg, Membership Director
Millcreek, UT – The 120th Utah State Amateur Champion, Preston Summerhays, has continued his great play into the dog-days of summer. Coming off a 3rd place finish at the IMG Junior World Championship last week, he returned home to attempt to punch his ticket to Pebble Beach. The 36-hole U.S. Amateur Qualifier conducted by the UGA and hosted by Soldier Hollow GC was a day filled with birdies for many of the competitors, but Preston separated himself from the rest of the field, shooting 65-60 to finish 19-under for the day.
Short game has been Preston’s bread and butter this summer. He says his hard work and practice around the greens has helped him save his score when he wasn’t hitting it well, but for this day, he credits his ball striking for his outstanding play, “I hit my driver and irons super straight all day, they barely curved. I made some great putts, too.” When asked about his thought process for the day, Summerhays with his dad on his bag said, “We (my dad and I) just try to make as many birdies as we can.” With sixteen birdies and two eagles on the day, they executed their game plan.
The most memorable shot of the day, came when he was faced with 53 yards short left of the green on the 18th – he needed to hole out to shoot 59. If there were any nerves, they didn’t show. He hit a high soft shot that ended up 3-inches short, right in the heart. Easy tap in for 60, a course record, and a trip to the biggest amateur stage in golf.
He has never played Pebble Beach, but his dad Boyd Summerhays, has and it’s his favorite course. There’s no doubt the seasoned tour veteran will offer valuable insight when they arrive.
UGA Executive Director, Jacob Miller raved about the quality of the field and the way the qualifier played out, “This event always has one of our strongest fields every year, and it’s exciting to see the youngest Utah State Amateur Champion ever back up his performance against the best players in the state.”
Slightly overshadowed by Preston’s performance, but still impressive, was the second qualifier, Drew Kittleson of Arizona. Finishing at 11-under par, he snuck by local mid-am, Kurt Owen by one stroke. Owen and Jacob Godfrey are the first and second alternates. Hopefully the golf gods are on their side, and they get to punch their tickets to Pebble Beach as well.
View the full field results here