This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
This time, in his pursuit of a Masters invitation, Daniel Summerhays played better golf and he also played better defense.
Summerhays made five birdies on the back nine Sunday to complete a 4-under-par 66 in the final round of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. His third-place finish is good for a $680,000 check and berth in the 2017 Masters, marking his first appearance at Augusta National Golf Club.
Summerhays will become the first Utah high school graduate to play in the Masters since former Davis teammate Clay Ogden, who qualified as an amateur in 2006. He'll be the first BYU golfer other than former champion Mike Weir, who's annually exempt, to visit Augusta National since Dean Wilson in '07. And his top-three finish in a major tournament is the best for a Utah prep product since West High's George Von Elm lost in a playoff in the 1931 U.S. Open.
Last September, Summerhays missed a Masters invitation by one stroke basically, because Harris English made an 18-foot birdie putt from off the green on the last hole of the BMW Championship near Chicago. English displaced Summerhays at No. 30 in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, advancing to the Tour Championship and earning exemptions into all four major tournaments in 2016.
Summerhays lay on his hotel bed for 10 minutes that evening, letting "the disappointment really sink in," as he told the story the following week.
He continued, "I definitely was disappointed, because the door was open and I saw what was behind that door, I really did. And it was closed."
But he moved on, more motivated than ever going into the 2015-16 season, and Summerhays opened another door for himself with his 70-67-67-66 performance at Baltusrol. Coupled with his tie for eighth in the U.S. Open, he's the first Utah resident to post two top-10 finishes in majors in the same year since Weir won the Masters and tied for third in the U.S. Open in 2003.
As a Davis golfer, Summerhays first got into contention for a Masters invitation when he reached the quarterfinals of the 2001 U.S. Amateur. But he lost at that stage, and only the two finalists qualified. Fifteen years later, he found another avenue to Augusta National's Magnolia Lane.