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FARMINGTON — Maybe it’s time to rebrand the Utah Championship, the developmental PGA stop on this year’s Korn Ferry Tour at Oakridge Country Club, as “the Summerhays Memorial.”
The family’s influence on the golf course was felt this weekend, beyond the hanging portrait of Danny Summerhays just inside the clubhouse’s front doors or Summmerhays’ spot at second-place 8-under-par 134, just one stroke behind South Africa’s Tyrone Van Aswegen.
No, Oakridge has been like family for the Summerhays clan, from Danny’s uncle Bruce (the former PGA Champions Tour golfer) to his own career since graduating from BYU to his brother Boyd (Tony Finau's swing coach).
The next generation of Summerhays (Summerhayses? Summerhai?) were on display Thursday and Friday, too.
At just 16 years old, Preston Summerhays — the Arizona golfer who stormed to last year’s Utah State Amateur title at just 15 — became the youngest golfer to tee it up at the Utah Championship. He'll be back in a few weeks to defend his title at Soldier Hollow.
But first, he teed it up with the pros, courtesy of a sponsor's exemption.
The younger Summerhays’ days on the tour didn’t last long. With his dad on the bag, Preston Summerhays shot 2-over 73 on Thursday, setting himself right along the projected cutline before teeing off Friday afternoon.
That set up a frantic moving day. The younger Summerhays carded three birdies with just one bogey to take a 2-under score through the turn, but a pair of bogeys on his second nine dropped him to even-par 71 for a two-day total of 144, or two strokes behind the cut.
Just being in the course was a major milestone for the teenager.
“We’ve never been able to compete in an actual tournament, and to be able to do that is really cool,” said Preston Summerhays, who has also qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur and Junior PGA Championship. “And it’s really fun to have the whole family around the tournament, all here for support.”
Sharing the moment with his father was special, as well. When he’s not coaching local phenom Tony Finau on the PGA Tour, Boyd Summerhays is often coaching up his two children at junior golf tournaments around the country.
“We’ve spent so much time, since he started playing competitive golf when he was 10, and he’s done some great things. He was ready to play,” Boyd Summerhays said of his son.
As far as coaching this weekend, though, the elder Summerhays was barely forced to say much to his son. The pro golf lifestyle came naturally to Preston Summerhays.
“That’s his gift. He just plays, even when he didn’t play so well today,” Boyd Summerhays said of his son. “There’s still a lot of golf to play and he hit some great drives. It just slipped away from him a bit in the middle of the round.”
It’s an experience the teen won’t soon forget, either.
Almost through 36 holes @UTChampionship.— Korn Ferry Tour (@kornferrytour) June 28, 2019
Here's where things stand:
1. Van Aswegen, -9
2. Summerhays, -8
3. Creel, -7
T4. Oppenheim, -6
All scores: https://t.co/SJuOsVfrk2pic.twitter.com/0EGFl0SmbL
“I just want to learn some new ways to prepare for a big tournament,” Preston Summerhays said. “Maybe get a few tips and tricks to put into my game — and something that I wouldn’t get playing in a regular junior event.”
Former BYU golfer Zac Blair made the turn with three-straight birdies, and finished at 6-under 136 and tied for fifth place before the weekend.
Park City’s Steele DeWald, the current Provo Open champion, used an eagle on the par-5, 551-yard seventh hole to propel himself to a second round of 3-under 68. He sits tied for 40th with a two-day total of 2-under 140 headed into the weekend.
Utah Championship at Oakridge CC
T2 — Daniel Summerhays, 8-under, 134
T5 — Zac Blair, 6-under, 136
T41 — Steele DeWald, 2-under, 140
T89 — Preston Summerhays, Even-par, 144
T153 — Jimmy Stanger, 11-over, 153