TEMPE, ARIZONA (AP) – Preston Summerhays has dreamed of playing in the WM Phoenix Open since he was a standard bearer at the event at the age of ten. Summerhays has aimed at returning to the Phoenix Open since he began playing amateur golf at the age of 14.
Summerhays has returned to the Phoenix Open as one of five sponsor exemptions, nearly a decade after his previous appearance.
Summerhays, a freshman on the Arizona State golf team, got the call while practicing with his father and younger brother in Scottsdale. The call, much to his father’s surprise, was something worth recording on his phone. Summerhays would be fulfilling a long-held ambition early in his career.
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“I was trying really hard not to cry when I got that call and finally knew I was playing and going to be there.” Summerhays remarked, “It was such an emotional moment, and I had worked so hard to get there, and for it to actually happen was very great.”
Summerhays, 19, comes from a long family of excellent players. Boyd, his father and instructor, is a former PGA Tour player who has been Tony Finau’s swing coach since 2014. Preston’s uncle, Daniel, was a professional golfer who accompanied Preston to the Phoenix Open for the first time. Pres, Preston’s great-grandfather, was a University of Utah golf coach. Preston is one of two members of the Summerhays family who have carved out a name for themselves in Arizona State’s golf programs. Grace, his younger sister, enlisted early and is now a member of the women’s squad.
Preston’s career has been so important to Boyd that he was the only choice to be his son’s caddie this week at TPC Scottsdale.
“Because we’re so close, we strive to collaborate as much as possible.” Since I was a child, he has been my coach. Preston explained, “We simply work so hard together and spend so much time together.” “It’s extremely wonderful to finally have that success together, especially with him on the bag.”
Finau is also competing in the tournament, so the Summerhays family will see another familiar face on the course. Preston has been Finau’s “sidekick” since he was nine years old, according to Finau, who lost the 2020 Phoenix Open in a playoff to Webb Simpson.
“Away from the golf course, he’s one-of-a-kind.” He possesses a number of outstanding attributes. He’s very humble, very competitive, and just a fantastic kid overall, in my opinion. Finau stated, “I don’t think you’ll find a more mature 19-year-old youngster.” “Then there’s the fact that he’s got the game to back up his name.” Because of me, his father, and his uncle, a lot of the guys out here know who he is.”
Preston has previously competed in the 2020 U.S. Open and the 2021 Barbasol Championship as an amateur. When he won the US Junior Amateur Championship in 2019, he cemented his reputation as a name to watch.
“The Summerhays family is undoubtedly a very renowned family in the state of Utah for golf. He, on the other hand, is going to be the best of them all. He’ll be the best of them all, and it’ll only be a matter of time before everyone sees what I see now, but it’s been fascinating to follow his development. Finau stated, “I can’t say enough positive things about him.”
Preston Summerhays grew up in a family that shared their time between Utah and Arizona, and he is a two-time winner of the Utah State Amateur, but he considers this tournament to be his home tournament because his family lives just five minutes away from TPC Scottsdale.
Summerhays is the second ASU golfer to compete in the Phoenix Open as an amateur, following Jon Rahm in 2015. Rahm came in fifth place in that match.
Summerhays will be competing on a sponsor exemption for the first time on the PGA Tour.
“It’s difficult to explain.” It’s unlike any other tour event I’ve ever attended. It’s just in front of my house. Summerhays remarked, “That tournament has always meant a lot to me, and to finally play in it is pretty wonderful.”