Summerhays, Allred share halfway lead in Ohio

July 13, 2007
By John Bush PGA TOUR staff

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- What better way to showcase the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational -- a unique tournament on the Nationwide Tour featuring professional and collegiate stars -- than to have an amateur leading the way at the halfway point.

Daniel Summerhays, one of eight 2007 First Team All-Americans participating at the par-71 Scarlet Course this week, shot a 2-under 69 to move to 5-under 137. He is joined atop the standings by Jason Allred (68). They are two shots in front of Richard Johnson (69), Kelly Grunewald (71) and first-round leader Chris Nallen (72).

EAGLES -- -- 0
PARS 14 13 27
BOGEYS 1 1 2
OTHER -- -- 0
DRIVING DISTANCE 306.5 311.0 308.8
PUTTS PER ROUND 33 30 31.5
PUTTS PER GIR 1.882 1.923 1.900
GREENS IN REG 94 72 83.3
SAND SAVES -- 100 --

Compared to gusty wind conditions in the first round, benign conditions greeted the players on day two, decreasing the stroke average by over two strokes to 72.420. Summerhays took advantage of those conditions, posting birdies on Nos. 1, 9 and 16, with his only bogey coming at the par-4 11th hole -- which statistically ranks as the toughest hole this week.

"I'm hitting it pretty solid and I'm missing on the safe side of the greens," said Summerhays, a 23-year-old rising senior at Brigham Young University. "Some of the par-3s you can't go at the flag because you can't stop it. So on a number of them I just hit it in the middle of the green about 50 feet away and putt it up to a foot and tap it in for par. So those easy pars helped me stay in a rhythm out there."

Summerhays, a two-time Utah State Amateur champion, has been making quite a name for himself for the Cougars recently, including firing a 60 in the final round of the 2006 Preview Tournament and winning his first collegiate title at the 2007 Cougar Classic. He couldn't be happier, however, at displaying his skills against some of the world's best professionals this week.

"It is great being able to play here," said Summerhays, the younger brother of Nationwide Tour member, Boyd. "We worked really hard out there on the college circuit and ... it's a blessing and we're really grateful to be able to play here. This is our dream, you know, to come play here. So it's nice to get a taste of it before we're actually out here so we can go back home and understand what we need to work on and what we need to get better at."

By the looks of things at the midway point, Summerhays seems to have a pretty good handle on his game. But finding himself at the top of the leaderboard was not exactly as he envisioned the week going.

"They say you should never enter a tournament if you don't think you can win it," said Summerhays, the nephew of Champions Tour member, Bruce Summerhays. "But I'm not going to lie. I wasn't expecting to be here at this stage of the tournament. But I do believe in myself and my game."

Summerhays is actually making his second career start on Tour, having missed the cut as a 17-year-old sponsor's exemption at the 2001 Utah EnergySolutions Championship. Then, following his freshman year at BYU, he took a two-year mission trip to Chile -- which he points to as the key to any success he is achieving at this point of his career.

"I think I shot like 42 that first nine holes when I got back," said Summerhays. "It's very difficult to come back from taking two years off. But I think the things I learned when I was in Chile as a missionary ... made me stronger mentally, and it gave me more sense of purpose. It really allowed me to understand what it takes to be great."

Summerhays will enter the weekend seeking to notch the Nationwide Tour's best-ever finish by an amateur, which was posted by Charles Howell III with his runner-up finish at the 2000 Greensboro Open and Jamie Lovemark with a playoff loss to Chris Riley at the 2007 Rochester Area Charities Showdown at Somerby. Sergio Garcia owns the next-best finish with a third-place effort at the 1998 Greensboro Open.

Despite his only bogey of the day at the opening hole, Allred kept pace with Summerhays with four birdies on the remaining 17 holes. The two leaders are the only players with sub-70 rounds up to this point.

"I feel like at the halfway point I met my goal," said Allred, who hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation. "I felt like if I shot something in the 60s every day I would be right there on Sunday. Granted we're only halfway done, but it's been a great couple days."

Second Round News & Notes: The cut came at 4-over 146, with 68 professionals and two amateurs (BYU's Daniel Summerhays and Coastal Carolina's Dustin Johnson) advancing to the weekend. It equals the highest cut in relation to par this season, tying the 4-over 148 at the Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship ... Ben Bates made the cut on the number to become the first player in Tour history to record 200 made cuts ... Patrick Sheehan equaled the low round of the week with a 4-under 67 to move to 2-under for the tournament ... Two of the three Pappas brothers playing this week made the cut, including Deane (even-par 142) and Brenden (2-over 144). Craigen Pappas -- the head professional at the nearby Country Club at Muirfield Village -- failed to make the cut ... Second-round co-leader Daniel Summerhays will also be joined this weekend by his brother, Boyd (4-over 146) ... The 36-hole leader has gone on to win just four of 17 tournaments on Tour this season, most recently Kyle Thompson at the Rex Hospital Open ... Richard Johnson's 2-under 69 was the first bogey-free round of the week ... Bradley Hughes withdrew after nine holes with an injury, while Chez Reavie and Brad Ott withdrew prior to the start of the round ... Justin Bolli was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard following the first round.