In a bantering manner, Colton Yates of Scottsdale said at the bare minimum, his father needs to be 100 yards away from him on the course.
“We joke about it, but parents are tough. Mine are awesome. They’ve supported me throughout everything but parents are parents and they want success for their children and mine are no different,” Yates said. “But yeah, 100 yards is good, especially when I’m playing well.”
Formerly at Notre Dame Prep, he helped the St. Bernards to a 2010 state title and furthered his golfing career, playing at Colorado State University. He turned pro as he graduated college in 2018 and earned Korn Ferry TOUR status in 2019.
Yates is competing for the state title in the 78th Arizona Open Championship, and he finished 4-under at 71 on Monday and at 5-under (65) on Tuesday with three birdies in a row on the front nine to advance to the final round on Wednesday. He is tied for 12th.
Even though the numbers suggest a better day was on Tuesday, Yates disagrees.
“I actually played better yesterday. I hit it a lot better, putts just went in today. Looking back at my stats I think I hit 14 greens in regulation today and I think I hit 16 yesterday,” Yates said.
Within the next year, Yates will be returning to the PGA Tour Qualifying School for the second time. Q School is a four-stage process of tournament-style golf skills tests. Yates described the school as a mentally draining process.
In the last three years, Yates took his longest break of a week after the second stage of Q School in 2019.
“Q school as a whole and golf as a whole I don’t really take time off,” Yates said. “I don’t believe in it…I’m just not that guy to take breaks.”
Yates is looking for a win. His attack plan for the final round is to prepare mentally and give himself a shot coming down the last nine to be in good standing.
“None of these guys play these events to come in second. If they say that I don’t know what they’re doing playing professional golf. We play these things to win a trophy and check,” Yates said.
Wednesday’s final round is down to 50 players after Tuesday’s cut.
Standings going into the final round
Luke Kristo from Phoenix and 17-year-old amateur Inigo Izuzquiza from Coronado, California are tied at 9-under going into the final round. Kristo shot 2 birdies and an eagle in succession to finish 3-under and come back from two shots shy of the lead Monday. Izuzquiza set a course record of 8-under on Monday.
Jhared Hack from Las Vegas and Michael Herrera from Moreno Valley, Calif. follow behind, tied for third sitting at 8-under.