Stout Crowned Champion of the 2021 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship
Dallas – Preston Stout officially claimed his wire-to-wire victory Thursday at the 22nd Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship. The Richardson J.J. Pearce High School junior finished the 54-hole championship with a 6-under-par 207 total and won by two strokes over runner-up Jase Summy from Keller.
Playing from the lead since the first round, Stout posted a 1-over 72 in the final round. Near the midway point of final 18 holes, Stout led by as many as four shots, but that advantage shrunk to two as he traversed the final two holes at historic Lakewood Country Club. Stout persevered and handled the challenges thrown his way thanks to a good attitude and strong mental game.
“There’s so many great players out here, so it took a lot out of me to stay in it,” Stout said. “I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I was able to stay in it.”
Stout got off to a strong start Thursday morning with back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes. He wobbled shortly after with two front-nine bogies, but a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole allowed him to turn at 1-under for the day.
As it did for Stout in the second round, the back nine started out a little shaky. This time, Stout took a double bogey on the par-4 10th hole. He was able to get one stroke back with a birdie three holes later. Holding a three-shot lead with two holes to play, Stout bogeyed the par-5 17th hole. With his two-shot cushion, he made a routine par on his 54th hole of the tournament to clench the 2021 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship victory.
Stout joins an elite group of 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, a lot of great players have won this tournament,” Stout said. “It feels good to add myself to the list.”
Other past winners include Charlie Holland (2004), Cody Gribble (2007), Luke Dossey (2017) and Pierceson Coody (2018).
These prominent names have led the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship to be considered the premier junior boys’ tournament in Texas, if not the entire southwest region of the country. With his victory, Stout earned an exemption into the 112th Texas Amateur, set for June 17-20 at Midland Country Club.
Save for two years during course renovations, Lakewood Country Club has hosted the tournament every year since its creation in 2000. Built by architect Thomas Bendelow in 1912, Lakewood has continuously supported the TGA and its efforts to support junior golfers.
In 2017, Lakewood hosted three of the TGA’s major events: the 108th Texas Amateur, U.S. Open Final Qualifying and the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship. All of these prestigious events were hosted by the club in a short, frantic three-week span.
Back in 1944, Byron Nelson won the Texas Victory Open at Lakewood Country Club. The win at Lakewood was Nelson’s catalyst that resulted in a 26-win streak over the course of two golf seasons, including his run of 11 straight wins in 1945.
The Texas Victory Open was eventually renamed the Byron Nelson Championship, which is the ninth longest-running tournament on the PGA Tour and certainly one of the most competitive and is greatly celebrated by golf fans nation-wide.
The competitors in the 2021 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship are members of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern Texas PGA and Houston Golf Association. The goal of the Alliance was to allow junior golfers a clear path to the best tournaments in Texas.
The LJT Staff extends its sincere gratitude to Lakewood, its members and staff, as well as the LJT volunteers, who all played integral roles in creating a memorable championship week.
For more on the 2021 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, click here.
Stout Maintains Veritex Byron Nelson Junior Championship Lead
DALLAS – Preston Stout, a rising junior from J. J. Pierce High School in Richardson, closed Round 2 on Wednesday at the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship with an eagle on No. 17 and a birdie on No. 18 at Lakewood Country Club. Stout finished with a 2-under-par 69 to extend his overall lead and total score to 7-under 135 for the tournament.
Stout took off early in the round, carding three birdies to shoot a to 3-under on his front nine. His score soared to 8-under, but Wednesday’s round wasn’t without its battles. On his back nine, Stout stumbled with four bogeys; suddenly he was 1-over par through 16 holes on his second round.
“I had a little trouble reading some of those putts early on the back nine,” Stout said of his early back-nine struggles. “I lost a couple iron shots to the right and couldn’t get up and down.”
Stout fought back, however, and answered with an eagle on 488-yard, par-5 17th hole.
“I hit a really good drive down there and had about 175 yards in,” Stout said. “I hit a cut 7-iron to about 6 feet and made the putt.”
With the momentum coming off 17, Stout then birdied the final hole at Lakewood, a 416-yard rollercoaster of a par 4. Stout said he never gave up and trusted his game.
“I just told myself to stay in it, you’re always in the golf tournament,” Stout said. “There were a lot of holes left to play. I just tried to stay in it and hit some good golf shots coming down the stretch.”
Stout said he plans to get in some more practice later today and then rest for the final round tomorrow.
“I’ll get a good night’s rest and be ready to come to play tomorrow,” Stout said.
That’s a good thing, too, because Keller’s Jase Summy is just two shots back from Stout. Summy fired a 4-under 67 in the second round to climb to 5-under 137 for the tournament.
“Nothing’s really going to change from what I did today,” Summy said regarding his final round game plan. “I just have to play smart and hit more smart shots.”
Sharing third place through two rounds of the 54-hole championship are Ben Gregg from Dallas and Plano’s Matthew Comegys. They both grinded Wednesday to finish at 4-under 138. Gregg shot 1-under 70 in the second round; Comegys came in 3-under 68.
Not far behind and tied for 5th place at 139 are Ben Delarosa from Dallas and Jack Beauchamp of Westlake.
Thirty-five players survived the championship’s 36-hole cut at 4-over 146. They’ll get going for the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship’s final round Thursday at 8 a.m. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.
Preston Stout Leads Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Championship
DALLAS – Preston Stout from Richardson birdied his final hole Tuesday at Lakewood Country Club to take a one-shot lead after one round at the 2021 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship. Stout, an incoming junior at J.J. Pearce High School, shot a 5-under-par 66 that included an eagle-2 on the par-4 13th hole.
“I’m trying to win the golf tournament,” Stout said of his expectations for the week. “I’ve been hitting the ball well lately, so I was hoping to keep the good ball-striking going.”
Mission accomplished though 18 holes. Stout began his round on the back nine and quickly birdied his first hole, the par-4 10th. After the eagle on No. 13, Stout added a birdie on the par-5 17th and made the turn bogey-free and 4-under par. He made two more birdies on his second nine, offset by his lone bogey on the 211-yard, par-3 fifth hole.
“I kept it in the fairway and hit a lot of greens,” said Stout, who finished T39 in the 2020 Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship. “I like this course because it’s tight, and I’m pretty straight off the tee. It’s a nice course, a lot of fun to play.”
Stout came into the championship riding a heater of momentum. He won the American Junior Golf Association’s Carolina Trace Junior in late March. In early May, Stout was victorious at the TaylorMade Junior Open at Texas Rangers Golf Course in Arlington. A couple weeks after that, he finished as a runner-up in UIL Class 6A Individual State Championships.
Stout leads a pair of Austin juniors, Andrew Tan and Zachary Kingsland. They both shot 4-under 67 on Tuesday. Tan, a junior at Vandegrift High School, poured in six birdies on Lakewood’s pure rolling bentgrass greens. Kingsland, a junior at Westlake High School, also made six birdies in the first round. Kingsland in May helped lead Westlake to its fourth consecutive (and 11th overall) UIL Class 6A state championship with an 18-shot victory at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown.
Three players share fourth place at 3-under 68. Ben Gregg from Dallas, Ty Holbrook from Granbury and Westy McCabe from Dallas are all just two shots behind Stout headed into Wednesday’s second round of the celebrated 54-hole championship.
As it has been virtually all year, weather was a factor on Tuesday. After nearly 2 inches of rain fell on Monday, and another half inch on Tuesday morning, the Legends Junior Tour staff moved back first round tee times by 30 minutes, but another 30-minute delay was needed to let the course dry out.
Lakewood has received more than 10 inches of rain since May 1.
For the first time in tournament history, the LJT conducted a Monday Qualifier for the final four spots into the 90-player field. Elijah Estonilo from Allen won the Qualifier with a 2-under 69. Matthew Foster from Dallas (-1), Grant Yerger from Austin (+1) and Luke D’Alise from Lubbock (+1) also played their way into the championship on Monday.
In each of the past few years, the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship has received registration entries from more than 350 juniors from across the state. With a 90-player cap to the starting field, most who try to enter don’t get in.
“We decided to do a Monday Qualifier this year to help meet the demand for entries,” LJT Tournament Director Kevin Porter said. “We also wanted to give the championship more of a professional feel to it. The Monday Qualifier helps there, too.”
Estonilo, who won the Qualifier, was one of those juniors who, in years past, couldn’t get into the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship. He said the experience was stressful, but he added that the addition of a Monday Qualifier to what he considers to be the best junior tournament in Texas only makes the event more special.
“I think it was an amazing decision to add the Monday Qualifier,” Estonilo said. “With the Qualifier, you can prove yourself on this course, which is very difficult. You can prove that you belong in this tournament with the best players in Texas and in the entire U.S., perhaps.”
Round 2 of the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship starts Wednesday at 8 a.m. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.