I honestly believe this is not my only Masters. I feel when my game is on and sharp, I could really compete here. —Daniel Summerhays
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Although his golf game wasn’t exactly what he was hoping it would be, Daniel Summerhays still had a wonderful experience at his first Masters and vows to be back again.
The 33-year-old native of Farmington, who played at Davis High School and BYU, who won two State Amateurs as a teenager, finished in a tie for 46th place after his best round of the week, a 1-over-par 73 Sunday at Augusta National.
As disappointed as he was with his overall game, the week-long experience motivated Summerhays to do it all again in the near future.
“I’m hungry to get back here,” he said. “I honestly believe this is not my only Masters. I feel when my game is on and sharp, I could really compete here.”
Summerhays was happy he was able to share the Masters experience with a couple of dozen family members, including his wife and four children, his parents and his six siblings. He was able to sneak in five holes in the Par-3 Tournament, which was only held for an hour due to inclement weather. He had the privilege of being the first of the 94 players to tee off on Thursday morning, just after he witnessed an emotional opening ceremony honoring the late Arnold Palmer with legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hitting ceremonial first drives off the No. 1 tee.
While his game wasn’t up to par, so to speak, as he never broke par in four rounds, he had several highlights that he’ll always remember, such as a near-ace at the famed par-3 No. 12 hole on Thursday and an eagle at another iconic hole, the par-5 No. 13 hole, on Sunday afternoon.
The latter shot came after a nice drive with his 3-wood, which left him 241 yards from the hole, which was in the lower front side of the green. He rolled in his 15-footer, which not only put him under par for the day, but also earned him pieces of crystal, which go to any player who makes an eagle at the Masters.
“One of my good putts of the day,” Summerhays said. “I’ve been wanting to get an eagle. They give you those little crystal cups, and I’ve been talking to my brothers about it the last few nights. Hopefully I’ll have a shipment in the mail sometime in here in the future.”
The eagle at 13 put Summerhays 1-under par for the day and within reach of his goal of breaking par for the round. He made a nice par at 14, chipping within two feet from about 80 feet and missed a 10-foot birdie putt at 15.
However, he 3-putted each of the next two holes for bogeys, missing second putts from six and four feet, respectively, before finishing with nice par at 18.
“My putting was atrocious,” said Summerhays, whose putting is one of the strengths of his game. “I drove it good a couple of days. I hit some nice iron shots, and some terrible iron shots. But I made too many mistakes, I wasn’t in great position off the tee and put myself in impossible places on the green.”
Summerhays took off with his family Sunday night for his next stop, Hilton Head, South Carolina, for the RBC Heritage Classic. He’ll play two weeks after that before coming back to Utah for a week in early May. Then he has several tournaments, including the Players Championship in May and the U.S. Open in June.
“I’m encouraged to keep making some progress, so I’m looking forward to Hilton Head next week,” he said. “I’m just waiting for my game to really get in shape. I know in these major championships I have the patient personality to get in contention and fight. I had no double bogeys this week. I just didn’t give myself enough birdie looks. It’s going to be a fun summer and I have a ton of golf left.”
After his experience at the Masters, Summerhays is also expecting an encore performance in the near future.
“I really believe this won’t be my last time here and I’m looking forward to my next chance,” he said.