Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Two firsts for pair of BYU golfers taking the next step

BYU golf alumnus Peter Kuest makes his debut on the PGA Tour today, June 25, at the Travelers Championship and freshman Cole Ponich begins his first professional tournament the same day at the Utah Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour, though he is still an amateur.

Both golfers also celebrated birthdays this week, with Kuest turning 22 on June 24 and Ponich turning 20 on June 23.

Kuest finished his BYU career just three months ago at the Lamkin Classic and looked forward to a deep postseason run before the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. He now makes his professional golf debut at the Travelers, the first PGA Tour event to be played on its original date following the suspension of sports in March.

His rise to highest ranks of golf began to rapidly accelerate following a breakout campaign during his junior season in 2018-19. Kuest reached the top spot on the individual collegiate national rankings as a senior. He signed with Hambric Sports management on June 4 and was invited to his first PGA events soon after.

Peter Kuest takes a swing at the Cougar Classic in Provo in April 2019. Kuest was a top collegiate golfer the past two seasons before making the jump to the PGA Tour this month. (BYU Photo)

“He will go down as one of the best players in the (BYU) program’s storied history,” a news release from Hambric said. “Among a long list of accomplishments, he won a record 10 times in 49 collegiate starts, set two single-season scoring average records and was the first pick for the prestigious 2019 Arnold Palmer Cup Team.”

The list of Hambric clients includes PGA Tour superstars Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.

“Peter’s career at BYU speaks for itself and he has the game to thrive at the next level,” Hambric CEO Rocky Hambric said. “We look forward to supporting him throughout his promising career.”

Kuest will follow up the Travelers this weekend in Connecticut with the Rocket Mortgage Classic next weekend in Detroit, playing in back-to-back PGA Tour events to begin his post-BYU career.

Ponich found out he would be playing in the Utah Championship earlier this week after qualifying on Monday, June 22, at the TalonsCove Golf Club.

“I was pretty emotional after qualifying,” Ponich told KSL. “It finally hit me that all those late nights and practice sessions, the slumps and everything, it just felt like it all paid off.”

Cole Ponich qualified for his first professional tournament this week, taking part in the Utah Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. (BYU Photo)

He was the only amateur among eight professionals to qualify from TalonsCove. He joins several BYU golf alumni in the Utah Championship, including Patrick Fishburn, PGA Tour member Mike Weir and Daniel Summerhays. It will be Summerhays’ final tournament as a professional golfer, as he announced his plans to retire and begin coaching golf at Davis High School this week.

The tournament runs June 25-28 at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.

“It’s really exciting to see myself stack up against some of the best players on tour,” Ponich told KSL. “These guys have had more experience than I could dream of having so far. They’ve been out there for years. I want to go into it and just take a piece from them. I’ll ask them about their journey and what have been their defining moments. I’m just looking for the experience.”

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