Arizona State’s Summerhays writes new chapter in family golf legacy

Missy Farr-Kaye had a proposal.

Arizona State had lost one of its best golfers over the summer when two-time All American Linn Grant chose to turn pro. As a result, the Sun Devils head coach asked Grace Summerhays in December if she would be interested in signing up early.

A top national rookie, Summerhays flourished at the amateur level, becoming the youngest Utah Women’s Amateur winner at age 16, qualifying for the US Girl’s Junior Open at age 15, and winning the Utah PGA Junior Series Major. Championship. She was therefore convinced that she could have an immediate impact on Tempe and accepted Farr-Kaye’s offer.

“She’s not afraid of a challenge,” said her father Boyd, who coaches PGA Tour professionals including Tony Finau. “She grew up in this competitive environment where you compete every day. She did not hesitate to do so. If she came in and thought she was going to be able to play and she wasn’t good enough, she would have found a way to get good enough to be on this team.

Summerhays didn’t have to worry about that, as the rookie proved himself right by cementing a spot in ASU’s roster. She’s a key part of the Sun Devils’ pursuit of a ninth NCAA national championship, racking up results ranging from fourth in her first event — The Match in The Desert — to tied for 10th at the NCAA Regional in Stillwater. , Ok so.

Her family’s legacy in sport is extensive, something she has recognized throughout her career. Relatives, including his father and uncle, played professionally, his great-grandfather served as head golf coach at Utah, and his brother Preston, an ASU men’s team golfer, earned an exemption sponsor for the WM Phoenix Open 2022.

But Grace is focused on mapping her own legacy. Eventually, she wants to turn professional and be the No. 1 player in the world. But first, the goal is to use his experience to help bring another trophy to the Thunderbirds Golf Facility.

“Every time you have a little hit, it goes into the memory bank,” Summerhays said. “You look at the pros on the tour: the more they win, the more comfortable they are. So if I’m in a stressful situation or something, I can look back and that also helps to have confidence. It’s hard to have extreme confidence if you haven’t won.

As the first Sun Devils player to start the tournament, Summerhays struggled on Friday winning a triple bogey on her first hole, but she bounced back with three birdies over 18 holes for a score of four for 72.

The Scottsdale native continued her upward trajectory in the second round by shooting a 73 at Grayhawk Golf Club to help the Sun Devils move from 16th place to tied for ninth (+16) on Saturday afternoon.

For those around the program, they’re not surprised by Summerhays’ performance, which helped ASU improve by 12 strokes from Friday to Saturday.

While Summerhays played in just eight tournaments this season and had ASU’s third-highest stroke average (74.85), his composure on the course impressed the Sun Devils and demonstrated his compatibility. with the team’s championship culture.

“Honestly, I always forget that she’s been here since January because I feel like she’s been on the team for so long,” said senior Alexandra Forsterling. “She brings so much fun to the team. I love being around her. I can learn so much from her and she can learn from me or from us.

Since her arrival this winter, Summerhays’ strength off the tee hasn’t been the only asset she has provided ASU. She quickly became one of the vocal leaders of the team, which Farr-Kaye says is unusual for a freshman. Her motivational phrases and her relationships with teammates made her “the spark we really didn’t know we needed,” according to the Sun Devils head coach.

Summerhays, who played a year at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, also made a profound impact in tournaments including the NCAA Stillwater Regional, where she shot three straight rounds of 1-for-72 to finish with the league’s third-highest score. ‘KNEW.

“She has a unique competitiveness that is fun to watch,” Farr-Kaye said. “No matter what she was shooting, she was never going to give up. No one would ever have to tell her, ‘Come on, come on, you can do this. Come on, hang on.

This motivation dates back to her childhood, when she switched from swimming to golf. Boyd, who spoke by phone with the Republic of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., recalls Grace training with Preston and six to seven junior students who flew to a few days of training.

She was the only girl during these sessions, an experience that developed her determination on the course.

“It forced her to compete against bigger, faster and stronger players than her,” Boyd said. “She’s been doing this for so many years that one of her best parts is that she doesn’t let herself be intimidated… she was starting to be around elite players at a young age (and) because she was so competitive, she thrived in this situation trying to catch up with some of these boys.

Summerhays eventually started beating some of them and advanced her career by winning many tournaments and competing in qualifying events, including some for the Korn Ferry Tour, the PGA Tour’s development tour.

Meanwhile, his main sparring partner growing up also started to find success. Grace enjoyed watching Preston become the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors. The two will have the unique opportunity to compete just 10 minutes from home, as the ASU men’s team won the Stockton Regional and will fight for a national title starting next Friday at Grayhawk.

But for now, the focus is on Grace, who embraces the experience of playing for one of the top programs in women’s varsity golf. Her teammates not only push her to improve, but they also create the family team atmosphere that she missed when she was taking online classes in high school.

She has it now. But more importantly, ASU has it.

“The schedule we have and the players we’re playing against, it’s hard not to improve,” Summerhays said.

Ranking teams through two rounds of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship:

1.Stanford (+5)

2. Oregon (+9)

T3. Auburn (+10)

T3. UCLA (+10)

5.LSU (+11)

6.Texas A&M (+13)

7. State of Florida (+15)

T8. Arizona State (+16)

T8. Southern California (+16)

10. Georgia (+18)

Individual standings through two rounds of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship:

1. Rose Zhang, Stanford (-6)

T2. Beth Lillie, Virginia (-2)

T2. Megan Schofill, Auburn (-2)

T6. Bohyun Park, Texas (E)

T6. Candice Mahé, Georgia (E)

T6. Ingrid Lindblad, LSU (E)

T6. Chiara Tamburlini, Ole Miss (E)

T6. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen, Oregon (East)

T16. Ashley Menne, ASU (+1)

T19. Calynne Rosholt, ASU (+2)

T41. Grace Summerhays, USS (+5)

T56. Alexandra Forsterling, USS (+7)

T78. Alessandra Fanali, USS (+9)