Patrick Fishburn was playing in a U.S. Open qualifying event Monday in eastern Washington. Otherwise, Tony Finau would have handed him the $40,000 cardboard check that Finau's foundation received from the Web.com Tour's Utah Championship.
Fishburn, a former Fremont High School and BYU golfer, is playing the PGA Tour-branded Mackenzie Tour Canada, one of the checkpoints of Finau’s pro career. His performance through two events this season further illustrates the ability that made him the first player to receive financial support from the Tony Finau Foundation.
The mentorship program is designed to help Utahns who once were in Finau's position, trying to advance in pro golf. “He's shown signs of greatness in his game,” Finau said. “I think he just needs an opportunity. That's exactly what we're trying to do, give the best player in Utah an opportunity to play at the highest level. So I think he's a very worthy recipient.”
Fishburn is sixth in the tour's standings after two events, including a third-place finish Sunday at Victoria, British Columbia. The Mackenzie Tour's top five finishers will advance to the Web.com Tour in 2020.
Fishburn’s selection was announced during a Utah Championship news conference at the Governor’s Mansion.
The host Utah Sports Commission and presenting sponsor Zions Bank named Preston Summerhays, Will Gordon and Taylor Montgomery as the first three sponsor-exempt players for the Utah Championship, scheduled June 27-30 at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington. As previously announced, Finau will stage his foundation's annual pro-am event on the Monday of tournament week as extension of his partnership with the Utah Championship.
Summerhays, 16, is the reigning champion of the Utah State Amateur. A son of Boyd Summerhays, who is Finau's coach, Preston won the State Am title last June at Oakridge. He will extend a theme of the Utah Championship, with his father having received an exemption to play at Riverside Country Club in Provo in 1995 at age 16 and Finau having competed at Willow Creek Country Club in Sandy in 2006 at age 17.
Preston Summerhays, a nephew of Daniel Summerhays, attends high school in suburban Phoenix and spends the summers in Utah.
Gordon just completed his Vanderbilt career as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. Montgomery, of Las Vegas, earned his exemption by winning the Sand Hollow Open in southern Utah last September.
Fishburn played at Oakridge last July via a sponsor exemption and finished in the top 25, earning a spot in the Web.com Tour’s next event.