Arizona State’s Preston Summerhays returns to his roots at Phoenix Open

Since he was the flag bearer of the WM Phoenix Open at 10, Preston Summerhays dreamed of playing there one day. Ever since his amateur golf career took off at age 14, Summerhays has worked toward the goal of returning to the Phoenix Open.

Nearly a decade after her first trip to the Phoenix Open, Summerhays has found her way to the tournament as one of five sponsor waivers available.

Summerhays, now a freshman on the Arizona State golf team, got the call while training in Scottsdale with his father and younger brother. Much to his father’s intuition, the call was worth pulling out his phone to record. Summerhays would fulfill one of his early career dreams.

“To get that call and finally know that I’m playing and I’m going to be there, I’m not going to lie, I was trying so hard not to cry. It was such an emotional moment and I worked so hard to make it happen. and for it to finally happen was super special,” Summerhays said.

Summerhays, 19, comes from an accomplished line of golfers. His father and trainer, Boyd, has been PGA Tour player Tony Finau’s swing coach since 2014. Preston’s uncle, Daniel, played professionally and had his nephew as his standard bearer on Preston’s first trip to the ‘Phoenix Open. Preston’s great-grandfather, Pres, was a golf coach at the University of Utah. Preston is now one of two members of the Summerhays family to lead the way in Arizona State golf programs. Her younger sister, Grace, signed up early and is currently playing for the women’s team.

Grace Summerhays (left) and Preston Summerhays (right) take a photo together at the Utah Men's Amateur Golf Tournament in July 2019.

Boyd’s oversight of Preston’s career has been key for him, leading to him being the only choice to be his son’s caddie this week at TPC Scottsdale.

“We are so close, we try to work together as much as we can. He has been my coach since I was born. We work so hard together and spend so much time together,” Preston said. “To finally have this accomplishment together is really cool, especially with him on the bag as well.”

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The Summerhays family will see another familiar face on the course as Finau has committed to play in the tournament. Finau, who lost the 2020 Phoenix Open to Webb Simpson in the playoffs, said Preston had been his “sidekick” since he was nine.

“He is one of a kind outside of the golf course. He has a lot of great qualities about him. I would say he’s super humble, he’s very competitive, just a great boy overall. I don’t think you’ll find a more mature 19-year-old,” Finau said. “And then he has the game to back up the name he bears. A lot of guys here know him because of me and because of his dad and his uncle.

Preston has already had an impressive amateur career, competing in the 2020 US Open and the 2021 Barbasol Championship. In 2019, he cemented his status as a name to watch when he won the US Junior Amateur Championship.

“The Summerhays family obviously in the state of Utah for golf is a very prestigious family. But he will be the best of all. He’ll be the best of them all and it’s only a matter of time before everyone sees what I see now, but it was cool to see his progress. I can’t say enough good things about him,” Finau said.

The Summerhays family split their time between Utah and Arizona when Preston was growing up, and he is a two-time Utah State Amateur winner, but he considers this tournament his home tournament with his family living just five minutes away. from TPC Scottsdale.

Preston Summerhays became the youngest winner in the State Amateur's 120-year history, beating University of Utah golfer Kyler Dunkle 3 and 2 in Saturday's 36-hole final match at Oakridge Country Club on Saturday 16 June 2018.

Summerhays is the second ASU golfer since Jon Rahm in 2015 to play the Phoenix Open as an amateur. Rahm finished T-5 in this appearance.

This will be Summerhays’ first PGA Tour event to be played on a sponsor exemption.

“It’s hard to explain. It’s unlike any tour event I’ve been to. It’s just in my backyard. This tournament has always meant a lot to me and to finally play it, that’s really cool,” Summerhays said.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-647-4122. Follow her on Twitter @jennarortiz.

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