Utah Women's State Amateur
by Kurt Kragthorpe
The Blair Sisters' style of golf works equally well in stroke play. Yet there's something about the way their consistent ball-striking and ability to make one par after another wears down opponents in match play, and that was illustrated by the way Bingham High School senior Tess Blair dominated the 112th Women's State Amateur.
Blair made a lot of routine pars on her way to the title. Even so, one spectacular par turned the Aug. 2 final match permanently in her favor at Bonneville Golf Course. Blair's chip-in after a taking penalty stroke on the par-3 No. 9 started her run of winning the last five holes, giving her a 6-and-5 victory over Jessica Sloot.
Blair's win came during a big summer for teenagers in UGA championships. Blair, 17, is the youngest winner of the Women's Amateur since Terry Norman Hansen (also 17, but about three weeks younger) claimed her first title in 1980.
The Women's Am outcome followed the 2014 triumph of Blair's sister, Sirene, then a San Diego State golfer and now a professional. Tess Blair, who's committed to Sacramento State, was the qualifying medalist and never had to play beyond the 16th hole in any of her four matches.
Utah State Amateur
by Kurt Kragthorpe
Everyone involved with the Utah State Amateur Championship is proud of the event's tradition, dating to 1899.
The best part of the State Am is the way its history keeps being updated. Preston Summerhays added another element to his family's chapter of tournament lore, and that's only part of what he accomplished by beating University of Utah golfer Kyle Dunkle 3 and 2 in the final match of the 120th State Am on June 16 at Oakridge Country Club.
About six weeks short of his 16th birthday, Summerhays became the youngest winner of the tournament, topping the legendary George Von Elm, who was 16 in 1917, when he won for the first time. Summerhays will be a sophomore at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Born in Farmington as the oldest child of Barbara Jean and Boyd Summerhays, Preston moved to Arizona with his family at age 8. They spend the summers in Davis County.
The summary of his State Am victory is simple: Summerhays wore down every opponent with his consistent play, a phrase that may not give him enough credit for making a bunch of birdies. He wobbled slightly in the final match, yet he led for the last 30 holes and never gave Dunkle much of an opening. He's a worthy champion, in every way. And, as has been the case with other members of the extended Summerhays golfing family, his career will be fascinating to watch.