"My match against Nick was as good as you could have hoped for," Hess said. "We were both making birdies and hitting great shots. I definitely had to go earn it; it wasn't going to be handed to me."
Summer made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 14 to win the hole and square the match. The two golfers halved the next three holes, bringing them to the par-5 18th. Hess, a senior majoring in marketing at Utah State, birdied the hole after reaching it in two, while Summers – an eight-time men's club champ at the River – settled for par to give the Aggie the victory.
"I believe I was 7-under and Nick was 6-under for our rounds," Hess pointed out. "It was just a great match, one I will remember for a long time, and one that I am proud to come out on the winning side of. It was very satisfying because I was able to hit the shots I needed to coming down the stretch to keep the pressure on Nick and ultimately win the tournament."
En route to his victory over Summers, Hess beat Ty Anderson in the first round, Brandon Casper in the quarterfinals and Nate Nyman in the semifinals.
"I had to play great golf to make it to the finals and win," Hess said. "I was able to do that, which felt great."
Earlier this month, the native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, won the Cache Valley Amateur with a two-day total of 136 (7-under par). The first day of the tournament was held at the River, while the second day was held at Birch Creek Golf Course in Smithfield.
Hess fired a 6-under 65 to take a two-streak lead over Tanner Alder on the first day. During his round, Hess carded seven birdies at Logan River GC. The following day, Hess shot a 1-under 71 at Birch Creek GC.
"For me, it's just believing that I can win," said Hess, when asked what he attributes the success he's had over the past few weeks. "I hadn't won in a long time prior to the Cache Valley Amateur. I was able to get a great win there and just carried that belief into this week. I have been putting in a lot of hard work and the results are validating the work I've been doing. Just having that self-belief and confidence in my abilities has been the difference for me."
Hess will now turn his attention to the 122nd Utah State Amateur Championship, which will be held Sept. 1-5, at the Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club in Park City. Hess earned his spot in "The Oldest Continuous Tournament In The World" via his victory in the Cache Valley Am.
Back in May, Hess matched the course record of 14-under 57 at the Logan Golf & Country Club, which is the home course of Utah State's golf team. During his eye-popping round, he had 10 birdies, two eagles and six pars to match the 57 carded by former Utah State golfer Brett Wayment on July 5, 2004.
During his junior season at Utah State, which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hess finished with a stroke average of 72.18 over 17 rounds. He recorded four rounds in the 60s, including a 67 at the Colorado-hosted Mark Simpson Invite.
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