Earns sponsor exemption from The Thunderbirds
The JGAA’s Preston Summerhays fired 75-73 at the WM Phoenix Open last week. Although it definitely wasn’t the outcome he – or we – was looking for, congratulation to Preston, the entire Summerhays family and The Thunderbirds for the vivid preview of great things to come.
In a pre-tournament press conference Summerhays explained he was “a little more comfortable” entering the filed at the 2022 WM Phoenix Open, with confidence gained during “hundreds of rounds” with family friend Tony Finau.
“Tony has been a great mentor to me. I have known him for probably about 10 years now. Yes, I have beat him, more than once,” Summerhays said with a smile when asked if he ever bested Finau in any of those matches.
He also recalled years past at the WM Phoenix Open as a standard bearer, and on one occasion, the star of the show on No. 16.
“It was my first time standard bearing, holding up the signs. I think I was with my Uncle Daniel, and we get to the 16th. I must have been like maybe 12, really young, but the crowd was cheering me on to spin the sign. I would just give it a little spin and the crowd went crazy. I thought it was the greatest thing ever.”
In the first round, after a double at the second and a bogey at the fourth, Summerhays got a stroke back at the par-5 13th to move to 2-over par for the round. He then made bogeys at 14 and 18 to finish at 4-over par for the first round.
Despite making everything within 10 feet, it was a give-and-take second round for Summerhays. Starting on the back nine, he posted a pair of bogeys, then a pair of birdies, then another pair of bogeys before making the turn with a birdie at No. 18. He picked up two more bogeys on the front nine before ending strong with a birdie on the 8th hole.
The only amateur in the field, Summerhays may not have come away with the result he was looking for, but no doubt there are hundreds, if not thousands, of junior golfers looking at him.
“It’s pretty cool, obviously. I had role models as a young player, players that went on to play college,” he said. “I have that opportunity; I think it’s really cool, and I can be a good example to the future of Arizona junior golf. I think that’s really cool.”
Winged Foot, Barbasol and now WM Phoenix Open. What’s next? Although the place and time may be up in the air, Summerhays teeing it up in more Tour events seems as likely as thunderous cheers following a hole in one at the 16th. And while they’re at it, might as well give a shout out to Preston’s dad, Boyd, who by no small measure, operates as the catalyst of it all. Not for just is son, but for Finau as well.
It appears that the Summerhays crew assembled quite the team, and the JGAA, through the generous support of The Thunderbirds, is proud to have provided Preston with a place to play and compete since 2012.