Daniel Summerhays boosted his career Sunday, but he missed a chance to change his life.
The former Davis High School and BYU golfer experienced a wild adventure in the final round of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. In the end, he bogeyed the 18th hole and fell one stroke short of the three-way playoff that 19-year-old Jordan Spieth eventually won.
Summerhays’ tie for fourth place earned him $190,133. That check pushed him to 93rd on the season’s money list with $750,686. Because the 2013 schedule is compressed, that total will be sufficient to keep him in the top 125 with full access to 2014 tournaments.
But Sunday could have meant much, much more to him. Summerhays started the final round at Silvis, Ill., with a two-stroke lead. Instead of fading after making four consecutive bogeys on the front nine, he courageously battled back. Using a driver off the fairway for his second shot on the par-5 No. 17, he gave himself a chance for an eagle, settling for a birdie that tied him for the lead.
But he bogeyed No. 18 after hitting his second shot into a greenside bunker from the middle of the fairway, posting a 1-over-par 72.
The disappointing finish was part of an intriguing weekend for Davis County/BYU golfers. Cole Ogden, a current Cougar, won the Utah State Amateur at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway. His older brother, Clay, was hoping for a top-25 finish in the Utah Championship that would have earned him a spot in the next Web.com Tour event. But he posted a final-round 70 and tied for 55th place.
And then there was Summerhays, Clay Ogden’s former high school and college teammate. With a victory, he would have qualified for this week’s British Open and next year’s Masters, in addition to gaining a PGA Tour exemption through 2015.
The win would have come almost exactly six years after his most recent triumph, as an amateur in a Web.com Tour event. That achievement changed his life, making him immediately exempt for the tour, so he turned pro and missed his senior year at BYU.
Sunday’s win would have been an even bigger breakthrough, but he barely missed the playoff.
Meanwhile, former BYU golfer Mike Weir tied for 27th place - his best finish on the tour since 2010. Weir ranks 178th on the money list with $180,361.