PROVO, Utah (KSEE/KGPE) — Ex-Clovis West and current BYU golf star Peter Kuest would have likely ended his college career by playing for a pair of national championships in May — until the coronavirus changed everything.
“We were just confused with the whole situation, and then I was like, ‘well, (the) season’s over.'” Kuest remembered saying to his teammates back on March 12.
That’s when the NCAA and BYU’s league for men’s golf, the West Coast Conference, cancelled the remainder of the spring sports schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That meant a premature ending to the BYU golf season, which had seen Kuest — and his team — post some impressive numbers.
“It was a good run. It was a great run,” said Kuest over the phone this week. “But unfortunately, we don’t get to see how it all plays out.”
At the time of the cancellation, Kuest had already won three tournaments this season, and posted the best single-season scoring average (69.42) in BYU program history.
With those impressive credentials, Kuest was recently one of ten golfers named to the Haskins Award final watch list. The Haskins Award is presented annually to the country’s most outstanding male collegiate player.
And he accomplished all this with what he described as his “B-minus” game for most of the year, a revelation that gives Kuest a tremendous amount of confidence going forward.
“I’ve won college tournaments with my ‘C’ game,” said Kuest. “And so, it just shows me, what I’m capable of, and what I can do.”
When he looks back on this season, Kuest will always have to wonder about what might have been in the final few months of the season.
He had a legitimate shot at an individual NCAA championship in late May in Scottsdale.
And Peter’s BYU squad, ranked No. 16 in the country by Golfstat.com when the season was halted, will never know if they could have won the school’s first team title since 1981.
“This team definitely, definitely had a chance to win a national championship, without a doubt,” said Kuest.
With the rest of the college season called off, Peter was hoping to get his professional career started a little earlier than expected. But with the major professional golf tours also on hold now, the only thing Peter can do at this point is stay ready.
“Keep working on my game,” said Kuest. “And you know, keep it ready, for when the gun does fire.”
As long as that does happen sooner rather than later, the plan is to play his way onto the Canadian Tour by finishing well at its Qualifying School Tournament, which has been postponed to the third week in May.
He’ll also try get some sponsors exemptions into PGA Tour events over the summer, if golf’s most high-profile tour is able to get up and running again.
Kuest still has a semester of school to still finish up, so if there continued to be no professional golf through the end of the summer, he might consider coming back for another year of college at BYU. The NCAA recently granted all of this year’s spring sports athletes another year of eligibility if they choose to use that option.
Whether this year or next year, his talent will eventually take him to the pro ranks, where he doesn’t just want to make it to the PGA Tour, he wants to leave a lasting impression.
“Hopefully, up on the podiums at a lot of the majors, putting on green jackets and lifting trophies,” summed up Kuest, when asked where he sees himself in five years.