Bryan Summerhays may have had an unfair advantage Wednesday at the State Amateur Southern Region qualifying where he nearly lapped the field with a sizzling 7-under-par 65.
You see, it was played at Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course, a course that Summerhays practically grew up on.From the time he was 12 until he went on an LDS mission, Summerhays spent his summer days at Wasatch. Half the day he would work various jobs for his father Bruce, the head pro, and the other half he would play.
"I definitely know the course as well as anybody," said Summerhays, who will be a sophomore on the University of Utah golf team next year.
The 22-year-old Summerhays led a group of 27 qualifiers who will join the 92 golfers who qualified in the past 10 days and approximately 30 exempt players.
A score of 75 or better was needed to move on to the State Am finals, which will be played July 11-15 at Alpine Country Club.
It wasn't surprising that second place went to Bryan's younger brother, Joseph, another veteran of the Wasatch layout. Joseph, a freshman-to-be at BYU, shot a 69 and tied with BYU golfer Ramon Brobio.
Bryan started off by missing putts of 15, 10, 5 and 4 feet on the first four holes. At that point, he turned to one of his playing partners and said, "I could have maybe won this thing, if I'd made those putts."
His luck changed on the next hole when he made eagle with a 6-foot putt and followed with birdies at 8, 10, 13 and 16. He left a 12-foot eagle putt inches short on the final hole and settled for his 65.
Despite being older, Bryan has played in the shadow of Joseph and 18-year-old cousin David. Joseph made the State Am semifinals two years ago and David recently captured the Salt Lake City Amateur.
"I admit it has been frustrating," said Bryan. "When I came back from my mission, they had already accomplished some things. But they've been really nice about it, so it hasn't been a problem."
Bryan said he hasn't played too well since he returned home from his mission until recently. He's been in the top 10 in his three most recent tournaments and a week ago was the low player at Ute Golf Day at The Country Club.
"I think it's back," he said of his golf game.
Of the five State Am regionals, this one turned out to be the toughest. The qualifying score was the lowest and the field was stronger overall. Other collegiate golfers who qualified were Utah's Ross Marcano (70), BYU's Dean Wilson (71) and Utah's Marty Romney (72).
Among those who didn't make it were BYU's Eddie Fryatt (77) and Utah's Chuck O'Brien (78).