SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (ABC4) – Team Utah takes the win at the 2021 PGA Jr. League Championship in Arizona this weekend.
The Utah boys defeated Team Connecticut 7.5-4.5 to win the title, in their first championship debut. The match took place at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona on Sunday. Making the win extra special, the event was also broadcast on ESPN2 for the first time in its history.
With only three matches remaining, Team Utah was tied with Team Connecticut at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, with Utah’s final three pairings sweeping all three points.
“Oh my goodness, it was just amazing,” said Utah Captain Tele Wightman. “You’ve got Oklahoma, Florida, Connecticut … such good teams, but we really believed in ourselves and felt like we had a team that could get it done. Then you are watching [the match unfold] and you think, this could be happening. The shots they pulled off towards the end, it’s amazing.”
Moments before the win, the team was waiting with bated breath as a ball found its way into the water near the green. All the pressure landed on 11-year-old Ryder Huish from Highland to nab the win. After two-putting the par 5 for birdie, Huish’s fellow teammates stormed the green in pure exhilaration, celebrating the championship title for Team Utah.
“When I saw Austin’s ball in the water, I cried inside,” Huish, 11, from Highland, joked. “I said, ‘I have to hit a good shot here or it’s over.’ I pulled out my 5-iron, I felt confident, and I executed well.”
Team Utah also had a major supporter cheering them on from home – Two-time U.S. Ryder Cup participant and Utah native Tony Finau. Finau has a personal connection to the team — his cousin is the father of one of the players.
Finau was Tweeting throughout the match, offering the young players words of encouragement. He also FaceTimed them after the win to congratulate the new champions.
“He was so proud of us,” Wightman said. “We have incredible support back home and all around, and it was cool to get a phone call from Tony.”
The Team Utah roster includes Jack Summerhays, Mo LeCheminant, Jaxon Erickson, Jordan Ofahengaue, Austin Shelley, Ryder Huish, Will Pedersen, and Tyse Boman.