Around the Green
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Preston Stout Repeats as Champion of the 23rd Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship
Dallas – Preston Stout officially repeated as champion on Thursday at the 23rd Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship. The Richardson J.J. Pearce High School senior finished the 54-hole championship with a 7-under-par 206 total and defeated Henry Guan of Irving in a one-hole sudden death playoff.
Stout posted a bogey-free final round 4-under 67. Unlike last year, the Oklahoma State commit, who won the 2021 Championship wire-to wire, trailed in each of his first two rounds. Early during Thursday’s final round Stout trailed by as many as three strokes, but he proceeded to roll in four birdies over his last 13 holes including one on his final hole to earn a spot in the playoff.
“It was a little more stressful at the end than it was last year,” Stout said. “But I think it’s always good to be in pressure situations. It means a little more to win two years in a row.”
In the one-hole sudden death playoff both Stout and Guan hit their drives into the middle of the fairway. They again matched each other with nearly identical approach shots to 15 feet from the hole. Guan’s putt came up just short as he made par and set the stage for Stout. Having just seen Guan’s putt, Stout stepped up and drained the birdie putt that was followed by an emphatic fist pump.
“There were some nerves there for sure,” Stout said. “Over that final putt I hadn’t made a putt all day so I was just like ‘one time please’.”
Stout joins an elite company of repeat winners after Thursday’s round, including three-time professional major champion Jordan Spieth who won the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship three consecutive years from 2008-10. Spieth set Lakewood’s competitive course scoring record in 2009 with a second-round score of 62.
“It feels great, yeah it’s a big accomplishment,” Stout said. “It’s of course what I wanted to do coming into this week. It gives me a chance to go tie (Spieth’s) record next year so that’s exciting.”
Other past winners include Charlie Holland (2004), Cody Gribble (2007), Luke Dossey (2017) and Pierceson Coody (2018).
Stout’s birdie putt on the playoff hole was met with a loud roar from the crowd that had assembled behind the green. Finishes like these have led the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship to be considered the top junior boys’ tournament in Texas, if not the whole southwest region of the country. With his victory, Stout earned an exemption into the 113th Texas Amateur, set for June 16-19 at Willow Brook Country Club.
Lakewood Country Club has hosted the tournament every year since its creation in 2000, except for two years during course renovations. Lakewood has continuously supported the TGA and its efforts to support junior golfers.
The LJT Staff extends a big thank you to Lakewood, its members and staff, as well as the LJT volunteers, who all played important roles in creating a fantastic championship week.
For more on the 2022 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, click here.