At just 19 years old, ASU freshman Preston Summerhays has begun to create a legacy for himself in the world of golf.
Summerhays earned a sponsor exemption to play at the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale and finished with a tally of six over par, not enough to qualify for the final rounds.
Summerhays has five family members who have all played or coached in different aspects of the game.
His sister, freshman Grace Summerhays, joined the ASU women’s golf team in January.
Prior to joining ASU, Preston Summerhays had already competed in two PGA Tour events, the 2021 Barbasol Championship and the 2020 U.S. Open, as well as winning the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Golf is undoubtedly in his blood, but he has been making headlines recently due to his performance on the green, not his namesake.
“Coming in as a freshman and not only a freshman, but you come in as a freshman to a great team already, it’s gonna be hard," Preston Summerhays said. "Especially getting used to college life and having to find a routine, it takes a little bit to get situated ... I didn’t play my best the first couple of events, but I found a rhythm ... and had some solid finishes."
His father, Boyd Summerhays, privately coaches pro-golfer Tony Finau, whom Preston Summerhays has built an unbreakable relationship with. He also has formed a great relationship with ASU alumnus and the current No.1 ranked golfer in the world, Jon Rahm.
“Me, Preston and Tony Finau have actually played quite a few rounds of golf,” Rahm said at his press conference for the WM Open.
Rahm said Preston Summerhays shot eight under par through nine holes the last time the three of them played together.
“He’s definitely a very talented player, and he’s only a freshman in college ... He has what it takes, has the tools and determination to be ... one of the best in the world,” Rahm said.
Preston Summerhays had a busy start to the year, participating in four tournaments in a one-month span and finishing his last three collegiate events in the top-10, as well as winning the East Lake Cup in Atlanta last October.
He said that hitting his stride recently and helping his team become the No.1 ranked team in the nation, has been a great experience for him, but he is still just trying to get caught up with all of his schoolwork.
“During the summer, I have complete control over my schedule, and I like to go week-to-week-to-week and play as much as I can. I feel like I get a better feel for my game when I go play a competitive round,” Preston Summerhays said.
Preston Summerhays is currently ranked as the NCAA’s No.17 golfer, according to Golfweek. He views his ranking as a step in the right direction but is adamant that he has much bigger goals than just being ranked.
Men’s golf head coach Matt Thurmond said that Summerhays is already imagining himself achieving at the highest level, and believes he works so hard because he knows he has to in order to live up to his own expectations.
“Preston sees himself as a star golfer. He sees himself being one of the best golfers in the world and he’s not quite there yet, but he knows it won’t be long before he is. When you have that vision in your mind all the time, it changes who you are on a daily basis,” Thurmond said.
There is no question that Preston Summerhays has a great support system and great talent around him. However, the biggest impression that he leaves on those whom he surrounds himself with is his personality.
“(It’s surprising) that as a freshman, he can still kind of be a leader on the team," Thurmond said. "He does all those things that you hope everyone can learn to do, but maybe aren’t natural at early on, Preston has all of that."
Preston Summerhays will be competing for ASU again in the upcoming Cabo Collegiate in Los Cabos, Mexico, from Feb. 27 to March 1. The Sun Devils last competed at the Cabo Collegiate in 2020, bringing home the trophy for the team.
Justin Spangenthal is a reporter for The State Press, currently covering Men's Golf and Track and Field. Justin transferred to ASU last January and is planning to graduate Fall '23. He is passionate about journalism and hopes to one day launch his own media outlet.