‘This girl is not afraid’: Young star with familiar last name starts college career early | Golf News and Tour Information

Grace Summerhays is no stranger to tournament golf. In fact, she has tested herself at almost every level of competitive play: junior golf, amateur championships, women’s professional events, and even the men’s Korn Ferry Tour qualifiers. But he still has one step to take: university golf.

Next month, Summerhays will take care of that as she enrolls in mid-season at Arizona State, just weeks after graduating from high school a semester earlier. At first glance, this would seem like an unusual move for a 17-year-old. Why make a quick transition to college when you could take some free time and train for the next big step?

The easier to understand the answer is the more you know about Summerhays. She’s not your average high school student. She won the Utah Women’s State Amateur at 16, the youngest to do so. But beyond her tournament record, she’s a spirited, spirited competitor who would without hesitation take on an action-packed schedule during an extended hiatus. The movement makes perfect sense.

“As a tournament golfer, the reason we practice is for tournaments,” Summerhays said. “I like to have a busy schedule so I know what I’m working towards. The spring season of junior golf has only two or three events. I thought for me it would be more productive to play a full program in the spring.

Summerhays’ competitive spirit is sharpened from within, but her upbringing into what one might call a powerful golfing family has certainly played a role in developing her mindset. His father, Boyd Summerhays, coaches a handful of the PGA Tour’s top players, including Tony Finau and Taylor Gooch, and has briefly toured himself. His older brother, Preston, is a former U.S. junior champion who started his first season at ASU in the fall, making them the first sibling golf duo in school history. . Summerhays ‘younger brother, Cam, 14, tends to follow in his older siblings’ footsteps as he begins to increase his AJGA schedule.

Grace’s decision to begin her college golfer career in January was also prompted by other factors. The Scottsdale native started taking her high school classes online when she was just a first year, and the flexible class format allowed her to move forward and graduate more early. The ASU is a short drive from the house and the 2022 NCAA Championship takes place at the Grayhawk Golf Club, giving Summerhays the opportunity to play in front of a familiar audience.

But there was another element that helped in choosing Grace: the ASU women’s team lost their top player this fall. Linn Grant, a 22-year-old Swede, left the program to go pro, immediately achieving full LPGA and LET status. Her departure meant the Sun Devils only had six players in their roster, and head coach Missy Farr-Kaye was eager for Summerhays to start as soon as she could. Farr-Kaye feels the newcomer may bring a new “spark” to his already strong squad, ranked No.21 in the latest WGCA fall coaching survey.

“I’m going to see pictures where she fights with Jon Rahm and Tony Finau. I love it, ”said Farr-Kaye. “What’s cool is that it doesn’t bother her. She said, ‘I really don’t want to play junior golf for six more months, I’m ready. Let’s do it. ‘ A year ago I was wondering if this was the right thing for her, but I think it all really came together organically. She’s ready to go.

One of the keys to Summerhays’ development as a golfer has been her drive to surpass herself. And in college, she will meet whole new forces fueling this inner fire. “Playing for a coach, playing to represent your team, your school, I’m thrilled with these new challenges,” Summerhays said. “And I think they’ll help me prepare for the rest of my golfing career.”

Boyd Summerhays raised all of his children with the philosophy that you have to put yourself in awkward situations in order to train yourself to become comfortable. Playing against stiff competition is the only way to really simulate this challenge.

“The fact that she wants to play in a Korn Ferry Tour event.” Boyd said, “She knows everyone is going to watch, she knows if she sloppy people are going to be like ‘What is she doing?’ She does not care. She wants to surpass herself.

Playing on a varsity team will surely present new challenges for a 17-year-old, but it’s nothing Summerhays doesn’t think she can handle with the experience she already has under her belt. In addition, she will be there with her older brother, with whom she trains practically every day for five years.

“Watch out,” Farr-Kaye said, “This girl is not afraid.”

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