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Kragthorpe: Daniel Summerhays takes home crystal from his first Masters

First Published      Last Updated Apr 24 2017 09:53 pm

Augusta, Ga.

Daniel Summerhays walked off Augusta National Golf Club's No. 8 green happily after making an easy birdie Sunday afternoon, while wishing for a bigger reward from his first Masters appearance.

He glanced at his brother Spencer on the way to the next tee and said, smiling, "I need some crystal."

It's coming soon. The shipment of a pair of crystal glasses is on the way to Davis County, as the Masters' traditional gift to commemorate an eagle.

The drive around the corner, a 7-wood shot from 241 yards and 15-foot putt on the par-5 No. 13, were the most redeeming features of the final round for the former Davis High School and BYU golfer. He played the legendary Amen Corner well all week, amid mistakes elsewhere that doomed him to over-par scores each day.




Summerhays closed with a 1-over-par 73 and a 9-over total, good for a tie for 46th place. He can claim to have made the cut in each of golf's last four majors, starting with the 2016 U.S. Open. That qualifies as a Summerhays Slam by the standards of Utah golf history, although his top-10 finishes in the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship were offset by his tie for 59th in the British Open and his slight fade on the weekend in the Masters.

Summerhays' T46 finish was slightly worse than the debut performances for other Utahns who came to Augusta National as PGA Tour members in recent decades. St. George native Jay Don Blake tied for 27th in 1991, when he eagled No. 13 in the first of his three consecutive Masters appearances. Sandy resident Mike Weir tied for 28th in 2000 after starting the final round in fifth place. Weir won the tournament three years later, earning a lifetime exemption.

Summerhays would love to return as soon as possible. He blamed "atrocious" putting and some ball-striking errors that put him in difficult situations for the six bogeys that held him back Sunday, when he made three birdies to go with his eagle.

At Amen Corner, he made four pars on No. 11, two birdies and two bogeys on No. 12 and a par, two birdies and an eagle on No. 13. His worst holes were the par-3 Nos. 6 and 16, with three bogeys on each.

Even beyond the thrill of competing in a tournament he always viewed with awe, Summerhays came away convinced he can play much better at Augusta National with more opportunities.

He knew entering the Masters that this may be his only shot in the event. That's why he invited all six of his siblings to spend the week in Augusta and eagerly made a six-hole appearance in Wednesday's Par 3 Contest so his four children could have a caddying experience before the heavy rain came.

Yet when Sunday's round ended as he missed a 20-foot birdie attempt on No. 18, shortly after Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose had teed off on No. 1, Summerhays spoke of being far from satisfied to have played in just one Masters.

"I'm hungry to get back here," he said. "I honestly believe this is not my only Masters. When my game is sharp, I could really compete here. … I could do a lot of good, because traditionally I am a great putter. I'm looking forward to my next chance."

Earning an invitation to the 2018 tournament will require considerable work. Summerhays likely would need a spectacular showing in another major this year — that's how he qualified this time, via the 2016 PGA Championship — or a victory in a PGA Tour full-field event. The immediate issue is moving up in the tour's FedEx Cup standings to retain his access for the 2017-18 season, and he'll play the next three tournaments on the schedule.

"I have a ton of golf left to play," he said, targeting likely appearances in all three remaining majors, assuming his World Golf Ranking is high enough to get him into the British Open.

And he'll be motivated by the goal of getting back to Augusta National, with those crystal glasses reminding him of what's available when he's playing his best golf.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com Twitter: @tribkurt

 

AT A GLANCE

Recapping the round: Daniel Summerhays

BEST HOLE » No. 13, eagle. The 7-wood shot he knocked onto the green resembled his second shot on No. 18 in the final round of the 2016 PGA Championship.

WORST HOLE » No. 16, bogey. He three-putted No. 16 for the second straight day, stemming from another iron shot to the wrong side of the green.


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