It had been five years since Tess Blair won the Utah Women’s State Amateur as a 17-year-old high schooler.
After defeating another former champion, Grace Summerhays, Friday at Jeremy Ranch Golf Club, Blair got emotional talking about the memory of that week and how far she’s come since then.
“I remember being that little 17-year-old and didn’t know if I could play here. Now I guess I can,” she said, wiping away a tear. “It took me five years to touch the trophy again. I feel like I’m in a dream right now.”
Blair has played four years of golf at Sacramento State and feels she’s a much better golfer now, but it wasn’t easy getting past Summerhays, who plays for Arizona State and won the State Am as a 16-year-old in 2020.
To capture the trophy, Blair had to play a nearly flawless round with no bogeys on the day to go with three birdies. She just missed making a couple more birdies and never really came close to making a bogey.
“Sometimes you play your best golf and don’t make it through the matches and other times you play mediocre and get through,” Blair said. “Everything lined up for me this week.”
Though disappointed with her second runner-up State Am finish (she was second in 2019 before winning in 2020), Summerhays wasn’t unhappy about her game Friday.
“It was a great match, one of the best matches I’ve had, so I can’t be mad about that,” she said. “Tess did so many great things. She hit it well, she chipped it well, she putted it well. She was the better golfer today.”
Blair said she wanted to play “fearless” and not let up in the title match. She took an early lead and never trailed throughout the scheduled 18-hole match.
She won the first hole after Summerhays found a bunker and bogeyed and then kept hitting it close, making a birdie at No. 3 to halve the hole, another at No. 4 to win and one more at No. 7 to halve.
She took a 3-up lead when Summerhays bogeyed No. 8 before Summerhays won her only hole of the day with a beautiful approach within three feet at No. 12.
Each player parred the next four holes and the match was decided at No. 17 when Blair only needed to two-putt from 10 feet after Summerhays missed a 15-footer.
Blair will play an extra year of college golf at Iowa State and isn’t sure if she’ll turn professional after that or defend her title next summer.
“I don’t know,” she said. “If this is my last one, I’ll end it with a bang I guess.”