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Posted 24 Jul 2001   For week ended July 13, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 18Jul01

By Mark Wright

LDS Amateur Golfer Preps for PGA with Psychologist, Utah Amateur

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The famous baseball player Yogi Berra is often quoted as saying that the game of baseball is "90% mental and the other half is physical." While few can argue with, or even understand, this statement, West Bountiful golfer Scott Hailes firmly believes that the mental part of his game is certainly important enough to focus on. Hailes, who is probably turning pro next year, may be competing in his last Utah Men's State Amateur golf tournament this week. As part of his preparation, Hailes has been working with noted sports psychologist Jay Brunza to help him get his mind focused and his game in shape.

Hailes firmly believes that the effort is starting to pay off. "My mental game is 100 percent better," Hailes said. "In terms of visualization, controlling expectations and focus, I have never been better." In addition to the mental focus, after making a few minor corrections to his swing mechanics, it seems that Hailes has also got the physical part working well. Chris Newson, the assistant pro Wasatch Mountain gave Hailes the stamp of approval for the upcoming tournament, "I watched him for four or five holes when he was up here for a practice round, and his length was unbelievable."

Relatively unheralded and practically not recruited after completing his prep career at Bountiful High School, Hailes ending up leaving the state of Utah to pursue his dream of playing professional golf on the PGA Tour. He landed at Wright State University in Ohio where he had a stellar freshman year, leading the school to the Midwestern Collegiate Conference championship and being named newcomer of the year. After his initial collegiate success, Hailes took a two year hiatus and went on an LDS Church mission to Spain. Highly recruited upon his return, he chose to transfer to New Mexico when he returned in 1998, turning down offers from the in-state schools which had ignored him three years earlier.

Now, reaching the end of his eligibility at New Mexico, Hailes would have liked to finish his amateur career with a win at the Utah Amateur. "It is the biggest amateur golf tournament in Utah, and, man, I really want to get my name on that trophy," Hailes said before the tournament began. "A lot of people in the Utah Golf Association have done an awfully lot for me, and this is their tournament, the tournament they cherish. I would love to win, to pay them back for all the support." Hailes also wanted to win the event for his father, Reed Hailes, who has been his biggest supporter over the years. Reed Hailes has been there to watch nearly every shot Scott has made since his son first became a fixture in the winner's circle at Utah junior golf tournaments more than 10 years ago. "My dad," Scott Hailes said before the tournament, "would just love to see my name on that trophy." However, Hailes was eliminated in the quarter final round by the eventual tournament winner, fellow LDS golfer Danny Summerhays.

In addition to preparing for the Utah State Amateur, Hailes is contemplating his future. With an eye towards a future in professional golf, Hailes said he likely will turn pro when his senior season ends next May. The only change in his scheduled plans could be additional success at the amateur level this season that would allow him to garner invitations to play in some of the more prestigious national and international amateur tournaments scheduled for next summer. "I am kind of approaching this as my last State Am," he said. Whether Hailes wins or loses at the Utah Amateur this week, he's already demonstrated both the talent and the dedication that will help him follow in the footsteps of other well-known LDS golfers who've successfully made the jump to the PGA.


Hailes Hopes For Payback At State Am
Salt Lake Tribune 10Jul01 S2
By Jay Drew: Salt Lake Tribune


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