Preston Stout (Texas Golf Association photo)
Richardson’s Preston Stout won the 24th Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship for the third consecutive year on Thursday at Lakewood Country Club. The incoming Oklahoma State freshman is now tied with Jordan Spieth, who won the event three straight years from 2008-2010, for most victories (total and consecutive) of the prestigious 54-hole championship. Stout defeated Frisco’s Davis Ovard on the first playoff hole by making a two foot birdie putt.
For the second straight year, Stout won via a playoff. He carded a final round 4-under 67 to finish at 14-under 199 total for the championship. Of all his victories here, this may have been the toughest. He entered the day three back of Ovard and midway through Thursday’s final round he found himself six shots back of the lead after a double bogey at the par-3 fifth hole. It took a furious late charge from Stout on the back nine to force a playoff.
Stout made three consecutive birdies from holes fifteen to seventeen to cut Ovard’s lead to one heading to the final hole. He made par while Ovard missed his eight foot par putt to win.
On the first playoff hole Stout piped his drive up near the green and Ovard laid back with a three wood off the tee. Ovard’s approach landed on the back of the green around thirty feet from the hole. With the door left open, Stout took advantage of his lengthy drive by hitting his short approach shot two feet from the hole. Ovard’s long birdie attempt rolled past the hole to set up the moment for Stout. He calmly tapped in the birdie to defeat Ovard and make history.
“Honestly, I don’t want to say I’m shocked, but I made a double on the fifth hole and was six down after that,” Stout said following the victory. “So, I was just thinking I have to get really hot and that’s what I did at the end of the back nine. I played my last four holes three under. I’m super proud of myself. I was able to keep my mind in it and have some mental toughness. So, yeah, I’m proud of myself.”
Stout has made memories for a lifetime at this championship the last three years and recognized that following his win on Thursday.
“It’s been crazy,” said Stout. “This year and last year both playoff wins. It’s been so fun playing with my buddies and to be able to have all my friends come out and watch me. It’s a really special tournament to me.”
He also realized how incredible tying Spieth’s record is.
“Spieth’s obviously one of the best players in the world and he was my idol when I was younger growing up. To be able to have my name up there with him on the record books is pretty cool.”
With his victory, Stout earns an exemption into next week’s 114th Texas Amateur at Houston Oaks.
36-hole leader Ovard finished runner-up after a valiant effort. He carded a final round 1-under 70 and had three birdies on the day. He will head to Baylor University this fall and looks to be a great addition the Bears squad.
Round one leader Charlie Wylie of Houston hung tough with Stout and Ovard for much of the final round but ultimately carded a 2-over 73 to finish at 10-under for the week and finish in third place.
Burleson’s Blake Keen made a run up the leaderboard on Thursday with a 6-under 65 to grab solo fourth at 8-under for the championship.
There was a three-way tie at 7-under total to round out the top five. Fort Worth’s Connor Henry, Plano’s Byungho Lee, and Richmond’s Mitchell Maier all put together impressive weeks at Lakewood to finish at 206 total for the tournament.
Story courtesy of Adam Rohrbough, Texas Golf Association
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ABOUT THE Byron Nelson Junior
The championship is scheduled for 54 holes of stroke
play with a cut
to the low 39 players and ties following the second
are open to male amateur golfers who have an active
with the Texas Junior Golf Alliance.
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