Luke Potter (R) with Maridoe owner Albert Huddleston (Maridoe GC photo)
Luke Potter defeated Preston Summerhays 8&6 in the 36-hole championship match to win the Maridoe Amateur at Maridoe Golf Club in Dallas.
Two months shy of his 17th birthday, the high school junior from Encinitas, Calif., bested a field of top collegians and an opponent who has already won a U.S. Junior as well as the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur.
Potter's familiarity with the host venue was instrumental to his victory, as this was the fourth tournament he has played at Maridoe this year. He previously teed it up in the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational II, the Maridoe Junior and the Southern Amateur.
After a long week at Maridoe, the championship match came down to two Arizona State commits, with 2022 verbal commit Potter pulling away from 2021 signee Summerhays in the afternoon round.
Both players broke age barriers in big tournaments this summer. Summerhays became the youngest-ever winner
of the Sunnehanna Amateur at the age of 18, and three weeks later Potter won the Southern California Amateur at the age of 16
, the youngest player ever to do so.
The morning round was marked by two big momentum swings but ultimately no blood drawn.
After eight rounds in six days, the players could be forgiven for running low on energy, and the match started slowly with both players bogeying the 1st and Summerhays winning the par-5 2nd with another bogey.
But Potter would rally, and when the first momentum swing went his way -- four wins in a five-hole stretch -- he would lead by three holes at the turn. Summerhays shot the equivalent of 5-over 41 on the front.
But he too, would steady himself, and flipped the momentum of the match with four straight wins starting at the 13th, retaking the lead.
Potter would respond with a closing birdie to win the 18th, and they went to the lunch break all even.
Summerhays birdied the first hole of the afternoon round to take the lead again, but it would be the final highlight of the day for the Scottsdale, Ariz. high school senior. It was all Potter from there, steamrolling Summerhays with nine wins in the final eleven holes.
Potter won three straight starting at the 19th, and closed out the nine with three more wins and an equivalent score of 33. When he ran his streak of consecutive holes won to six to start the inward nine, the match was over and Potter finished the equivalent of 4 under par for the 12 holes.
The inaugural Maridoe Amateur proved to be the ultimate physical and mental endurance test, with the two finalists playing an extraordinary ten rounds of golf in seven days. The difficulty of the golf course (with a slope of 150 and a course rating of 76.7) combined with the format and the frigid temperatures early in the week combined to make it a very long week.
For Walker Cup captain Nathaniel Crosby
, it was a chance to see some of the country's top talent in brutal conditions, as he ponders who he might select for the matches next spring at Seminole.
In that regard, the championship served its purpose and then some. Anyone who can make it all the way through this week surely has an inside track to earning Crosby's confidence.
Summerhays would seem to be a near-lock for the team given his impressive resume and status as a USGA champion. As for Potter, this win may not quite be enough, but if he continues on his trajectory it will be just a matter of time.
ABOUT THE Maridoe Amateur
This tournament was introduced in 2020 to provide
top-ranked players a
chance to contend for a Walker Cup berth. The
original format was grueling, a U.S.
Amateur-style competition with 54 holes of stroke
play followed by a 64-player match-
play bracket and a 36-hole championship match. In
2021 the format changed to 54
holes of stroke play. The top 102 players in the World
Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR)
will be invited, with the rest of the field based off the
View Complete Tournament Information