After more than an hour of waiting, Daniel Summerhays made his birdie to tie for the lead. (Cox/Getty Images)
By Rusty Hampton, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MADISON, Miss. – The longest day in Daniel Summerhays’ professional golf career ended the way it began Saturday, with Summerhays atop the leaderboard of the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Summerhays waited out a 77-minute rain delay to make one last shot, a 19-foot birdie putt on hole No. 18, to claim a share of the 54-hole lead going into Sunday’s final round at Annandale Golf Club.
Summerhays’ putt capped a 3-under 69 and put him at 17 under, tied for the lead with Nicholas Thompson (65) in the storm-plagued event. Chad Campbell (65), Cameron Beckman (65), Woody Austin (67) and Kyle Reifers (67) are tied for third at 15 under. Saturday’s delay, with only Summerhays, Vaughn Taylor and Fabian Gomez still on the course, was the third in as many days for the tournament.
Summerhays got to the course at 5:45 a.m. to complete his second-round 67, returned to his hotel to shower and change clothes, and then finished his day by snaking in a downhill slider at 7:32 p.m.
“All of us are equally exhausted,” said Summerhays, who played 28 holes Saturday. “Everybody. The staff. The volunteers. It’s been a long few days.”
Now Summerhays finds himself in an increasingly familiar position -- in the final group on Sunday. He led last week’s John Deere Classic by two shots going into the final round and was tied for the lead on 18 before a bogey kept him out of a playoff.
“It’s becoming more and more normal,” said Summerhays. “At Greenbrier on Saturday I was in the last group. Last week the final round I was in the last group. I was in the last group today, I’m in the last group tomorrow. Not that it will ever become common, because that heart rate’s still going to be going and the nerves will be flowing, but the more you’re in that situation you know how to deal with that when it comes, because it will come.
“It doesn’t matter what tournament you’re playing, if you’re playing to win you’re going to be nervous. There’s a lot on the line, but I think I’ll know how to handle it.”
Summerhays said he’s never waited out a weather delay to hit just one final shot to cap a round.
“I’ve had some where you play one more hole, but just for one putt, no,” he said. “My caddie, Nick, didn’t even bring the bag down. I had my phone in my pocket and I usually put it in my bag. So it was a strange day. (Friday) night we played until we couldn’t see anything, then I was up early this morning. I went back to the hotel after my round in the morning. Showered again. Dressed again. Ate lunch. Warmed up. It was like three days in one.”
Summerhays is in contention for the second straight week. (Revere/Getty Images)
By Rusty Hampton, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MADISON, Miss. -- Daniel Summerhays is back in a familiar position as the search for his first PGA TOUR win continues: Leading on the weekend.
Summerhays, who led after the third round of last week’s John Deere Classic, will hold a four-shot lead when he tees off later Saturday in the third round of the Sanderson Farms Championship. Summerhays finished his second round of the storm-plagued event Saturday morning, firing a 5-under 67 to get to 14 under. He leads over 10 players who have finished their second rounds.
Among those tied at 10 under are former Ryder Cupper Vaughn Taylor, Billy Mayfair, Peter Lonard and Chris Kirk, the 2011 winner of this event.
Storms delayed Thursday’s opening round to a Friday finish, and a lightning delay Friday afternoon forced a Saturday finish for 59 players in Round 2.
The third round is scheduled to begin at about 12:20 p.m. ET with the leaders set to go off at about 2:20 p.m. They’ll go in threesomes off both tees.
Summerhays, 29, had a chance to pocket his first TOUR win last week at TPC Deere Run. He led by two going into Sunday, lost the lead with four bogeys on the front, then got back into contention with four birdies on the back. He was tied for the lead going to 18 but bogeyed and missed out on a three-man playoff that was won by 19-year-old Jordan Speith.
If last Sunday was a learning experience for the sixth-year pro from Utah, this week has been another one. He breezed through his opening round Thursday morning, firing a bogey-free 9-under 63 to set the early pace, but Friday was a different story. He hit his opening tee shot into trees, punched out -- then the horn sounded. Two hours later, he returned to make his first bogey of the week. He played until dark, then returned Saturday morning to another shot from the trees, this time a 9-iron from 155 yards that he hooked onto the ninth green, 8 feet from the pin. His birdie try lipped out, but he played the back nine in 4 under to increase his lead by four going into Round 3.
Between rounds, he said, he’ll change into some gym shorts and a t-shirt and relax.
“This week has been a little bit strange,” said Summerhays of the stop-and-go-and-stop tournament. “I’ve had a little more time to sit and think about it, so I’ve made myself a little more nervous, thinking I should shoot 63 every round, but I think today playing 10 holes in a roll it was nice to get into a better rhythm. Now I’m looking forward to this afternoon and hopefully the weather will hold off for us.”
The second-round 67 means Summerhays has now played his last 10 rounds in 40 under.
“Right now,” he said, “It feels like mechanically, mentally, emotionally, I’m in a good spot. Hopefully I can keep riding the wave out.”
By Rusty Hampton, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MADISON, Miss. – Five players were in the clubhouse tied for the lead and four more were one shot back Friday when darkness brought a halt to the second round of the storm-plagued Sanderson Farms Championship.
Fifty-nine players, including first-round leader Daniel Summerhays, were still on the course when play was stopped at Annandale Golf Club. They will complete their second rounds Saturday, beginning at 7 a.m. local time.
Vaughn Taylor (67-67), Fabian Gomez (70-64), Paul Stankowski (66-68), Troy Matteson (67-67) and Kyle Reifers (65-69) finished their second rounds and were tied at 10 under.
Summerhays, who fired a bogey-free 9-under 63 Thursday morning, bogeyed his first hole Friday afternoon but recovered to get to 10 under through eight holes when play was stopped.
Storms that drenched the course on Thursday threw the tournament off schedule. A two-hour lightning delay on Friday added to the trouble. Some players were forced to play as many as 36 holes on Friday. Many others played extra holes on another steamy, 90-degree day.
Stankowski, a two-time TOUR winner in the 1990s who has struggled the last six years, played 30 holes Friday. Asked about his day, he had two answers.
“Well, it was long,” he said. “And it was hot. But it was a good day.”
It was that way for a lot of guys.
With the lift, clean and place rule in effect for the second round, players took dead aim at the rain-softened greens. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III made his share of birdies, five each round, but ran into so much trouble on two holes that he stands at just 3 under (71-70) heading into the third round.
Love made triple bogeys on the easiest (par-5 fifth) and most difficult (par-4 14th) holes, but hung in there and stuck his second shot on the par-4 ninth (his final hole) to 3 feet and rolled in the birdie putt to reach 3 under -- right on the projected cut line heading into Saturday.
In the opening round of the 2013 Sanderson Farms Championship, Daniel Summerhays hits his 51-foot approach shot on the par-5 seventh hole to 3 feet and would eventually tap in for birdie.
A week after nearly winning, Daniel Summerhays is in contention again after a 63. (Cox/Getty Images)
By Rusty Hampton, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MADISON, Miss. – He didn’t finish the John Deere Classic the way he would have liked, but Daniel Summerhays was far from bitter after bogeying the 72nd hole from a plugged bunker lie and missing out on a playoff in last week’s PGA TOUR event by a stroke.
Actually, he was quite stoked -- and it showed Thursday, when he opened the Sanderson Farms Championship with a scorching 9-under 63 at Annandale Golf Club.
“You take all the positives,” said Summerhays, 29. “I shot 18-under par for 72 holes and was standing on the 18th fairway with a chance to win the golf tournament. That can only breed confidence.”
That confidence obviously carried over, from TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., to steamy Annandale in suburban Jackson, Miss.
“When you’re driving the ball well and hitting your wedges well and feel like you can make almost any putt, it’s a really fun game,” Summerhays said. “I was really excited to come play this morning.”
Summerhays’ bogey-free round at Annandale included seven birdies and an eagle. The eagle came at the par-5 18th (his ninth hole), when he rolled in a 17-footer from the fringe. He then birdied four of the next five holes, including the long par-4 fourth, which usually ranks as the toughest or second-most difficult hole in this event.
“I definitely got things going with that eagle on 18,” Summerhays said. “That was nice.”
And compared to the last time he played a hole No. 18 in competition it must have felt like a little payback, too.
At Deere Run, Summerhays started the final round with a two-shot lead and gave it away with a four-hole bogey-binge on the front. He got back in the tournament with four birdies on the back, but hit his second shot on the par-4 18th into a buried lie in a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey. Jordan Spieth won the tournament, beating David Heam and Zach Johnson in a playoff.
Summerhays earned $190,133 for his T-4 finish and learned a little something about himself, too.
“You have to enjoy these moments,” Summerhays said. “Sometimes we take good golf for granted and you forget how hard this game is sometimes. It can be a really hard game, so I’m just soaking it in. I’m really excited about where my game is at and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things on the weekend and testing myself again.”
By Craig DeVrieze Special to PGATOUR.COM
SILVIS, Ill. – Daniel Summerhays will try a different approach than most in pursuit of his first PGA TOUR victory. He'll be focusing on the John Deere Classic atmosphere just as much as the task at hand.
The 29-year-old third-year pro from Utah buried 149 feet worth of birdie putts en route to a boisterous, fan-friendly round of 9-under 62 on Saturday, good enough to build a two-shot lead over veteran David Hearn going into the final round of the John Deere Classic.
Hearn also will be searching for his first career win on TOUR.
Summerhays’ 19-under score also gave him a three-shot cushion over defending champion Zach Johnson.
“I hope they are intimidated, but I doubt that’s going to be the case – I’m not a very intimidating figure,” said Johnson, who will have the advantage of having won nine times on the PGA TOUR, as well as his status as the hometown fan favorite.
Summerhays, who is coming off a T9 at The Greenbrier Classic last week, may mitigate Johnson’s hometown popularity with an outside-himself approach to playing inside the ropes.
“I putted well, drove the ball well and had a lot of fun interacting with the crowd,” he said. “I try to do that a lot with the kids, the fans, everything. That’s kind of my mantra. It’s not about me. It’s about everybody else. It’s about them having a good time.”
In that, he conceded, is an element of reverse psychology that helps him deal with inevitable ebb and flow of golf career and a golf round.
“It actually relaxes me,” he said. “Everybody says, ‘Stay focused.’ Well, that actually makes me more nervous. It actually calms me down when I can look people in the eyes out in the crowd, give people the thumbs up, give a kid a high-five.
“That calms me down, and I think there’s something to that in life, I really do. Get outside yourself and you’ll find more confidence, more peace, more tranquility.”
The lead twosome will benefit from a comfortable pairing. Hearn is a Summerhays fan and vice-versa.
“We'll have a fun time out there tomorrow and keep making birdies and see what happens,” Hearn said.
Veterans J.J. Henry and Jerry Kelly will start the final round four shots out of the lead and the trio of Nicholas Thompson, Chris Kirk and Matt Jones trail by five.
With low numbers being the norm at TPC Deere Run – Saturday’s scoring average was 68.236 – Johnson said the only safe approach is to not play safe.
“My guess is they are going to come out firing, and I don’t know why they wouldn’t,” he said of the final twosome. “I mean, every year at John Deere it takes a lot of birdies to win.”
Daniel Summerhays is looking for his first PGA TOUR win. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Daniel Summerhays was talking an awful lot like a famous sports psychologist on Friday after the second round of The Greenbrier Classic.
Summerhays had just shot a 67 that left him in a logjam at 8 under, battling for the lead in the popular third-year PGA TOUR event. The key to that solid start, he was saying, is learning not to be so hard on himself.
"I think I learned some things the last little bit, just try not to be as perfect," Summerhays said. "That's my personality and it hurts me. I mean, that's why I'm here, but that's what hurts me sometimes, trying to be too exact, too perfect.
"Over the last couple days and on the weekend that's what I'm going to try and do is just pick my target, hit the shot, and live with the result. ... You can be too perfect out here and golf is not a game of perfect."
Dr. Bob Rotella -- who wrote the book of the same name -- couldn't have said it better.
Summerhays, who has missed his last three cuts on TOUR, didn't make a bogey on Friday. His putter has kept things going in the right direction -- Summerhays has only used 49 total, including 23 on Thursday when he made eight birdies and three bogeys.
A successful 12-footer for par on his second hole in the second round set the tone for the day. Birdie putts of 15 and 26 inches followed on Nos. 6 and 8, then he capped his scoring with an 8-footer at the 14th hole.
"Those easy birdies are always fun," Summerhays said. "I think the only difference from yesterday is I just didn't make as many putts, you know, but again, I'm giving myself some good chances and they'll start falling on the weekend."