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Kragthorpe: Soft landing sends Daniel Summerhays into Masters weekend

Published April 7, 2017 11:30 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Augusta, Ga.

Daniel Summerhays figured his golf ball would roll down the bank and into the water around the 13th green.

He worried that it would stay on the fringe surrounding the 18th green after his cleverly played chip shot showed signs of stopping.

The ball somehow remained in place on No. 13, fortunately for Summerhays.

It finally trickled toward the hole on No. 18, happily for him.

The good breaks that the former Davis High School and BYU golfer believed he deserved after two solid ball-striking days at Augusta National Golf Club will enable him to play the weekend rounds in his first Masters appearance. Thanks to his birdie on No. 13 and his par save on No. 18, Summerhays made Friday's cut with one stroke to spare after shooting 74-75.

That's meaningful for multiple reasons. Summerhays came to Augusta needing to make up ground in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings to keep his tour card for an eighth straight season, and he wanted to reward his family members and friends with an opportunity to watch him play two more rounds.

He came through during two days of demanding conditions, with the swirling, gusting winds leading to long conversations with his caddie about club choices and aiming points. Playing in a twosome with Russell Henley and never being pressed by the threesome behind them also allowed him to take extra time before playing shots.

If he didn't like the wind, he waited. That's the advice he received this week from another ex-BYU golfer, 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir: "Don't rush a shot."

Weir (76-79) missed the cut for the fifth time in six years, but he was happy to have helped Summerhays advance. Weir knows that succeeding in this venue requires being committed fully to the shot because any indecision can be disastrous.

Summerhays was determined to "avoid the train wreck," he said, and he succeeded. He made four bogeys Friday but never was in danger of anything worse. His worst shot of the day actually resulted in his only birdie.

After he hooked an aggressive drive around the corner on the par-5 No. 13, his iron shot hugged the right side of the green, where a tributary of Rae's Creek comes into play. "I thought it was in the water, for sure," Summerhays said.

He has labeled No. 13 "the most beautiful hole on the planet," and his impression will remain favorable. His ball bounced once and stayed on the bank, although it technically was inside the hazard. The same thing happened to Rory McIlroy in the first round Thursday, but the course was softer then. "Nice to get a good break," said Summerhays, who chipped up and made the birdie putt.

He gave back that stroke with a sloppy bogey on the par-5 No. 15, then barely missed birdie tries on the next two holes. So he still was agonizing about making the cut as he played No. 18, and he missed the green when his approach shot sailed to the left.

Summerhays purposely played his chip all the way across the green, and the ball almost remained in the fringe. But it rolled to within 4 feet of the hole as he turned and expressed his relief to nearby fans. He drilled the par putt, removing any doubt about the cut.

Summerhays eagerly looked ahead to the weekend, when Augusta National will resemble the pristine place he always imagined. He's anticipating pleasant breezes of about "4 mph," in contrast to the strong winds of Thursday and Friday, and hopes to move up the board by playing aggressively.

He's just excited about playing two more rounds. This is Augusta National, after all. —

The Masters

P Third round, Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV • Ch. 2






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