Summerhays seeks first career PGA TOUR win at Memorial Tournament

Daniel Summerhays leads the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide by three shots after three rounds of play. Photo credit: PGA TOUR Twitter

Dublin, OH — For two years Daniel Summerhays did not touch a golf club, but he certainly had a good reason as to why.

Summerhays, 19 at the time, was on a mission trip in Santiago, Chile.

“I remember one spring morning I got a broom out and I took the head off of it and I duct taped a roll of duct tape, just to make a motion, and that’s about the extent of what I swung for two years,” he said. “I saw a few golf courses, saw a couple of guys with golf clubs getting on to the bus a couple of times, and of course I ran up and was talking to them about it.  It took me about six months, I think, to get back to where I was before I left in college. I didn’t red shirt coming back. After that six months, I was kind of that level and then I just continued to progress. I attribute a lot of that to the skills of hard work and patience that I learned in Chile.”

Now Summerhays overcame a five shot deficit in five holes and leads Matt Kuchar by three shots after three rounds of play at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.

“I’ve just played incredible golf this week,” said Summerhays. “It seemed like for the last month and a half, two months, I’ve come in after my round and say, ‘I played so much better than I scored.’ It just is a lesson to continue to stay patient because the switch can flip at any moment.”

This is the fourth time Summerhays has either led or co-led after three rounds of play as he hopes to shatter his previous high finish for this season, a tie for 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“Here will probably be some new feelings tomorrow, but I honestly there may not be a lot of there will definitely be nerves,” Summerhays said. “I’ll probably hit a few putts with the hands shaking and everything like that. It’s nothing that I haven’t experienced before.”

Kuch knows second Memorial Tournament title within his reach

Matt Kuchar is someone used to being atop the Memorial Tournament leaderboard. Kuchar won this event in 2013 and most recently tied for fourth place in last year’s event.

“I’m excited to have another chance here,” Kuchar said. “It looked like after 36 holes that none of us were going to have a chance at it. For me, best I can do is just control my golf game and went out and played some good golf and 5-under today. Sundays when you have a chance to win at golf tournament is very exciting. Any time you have a chance on the PGA Tour is a thrill.”

Kuchar has stayed rather mistake free recording three bogeys but limiting those miscues allowed him to move up the leaderboard.

The round started with seven consecutive pars before he had six birdies as opposed to the one bogey.

“You don’t really concern yourself about others, you play the best you can,” said Kuchar. “Some days it’s your day and you can make a push and make some birdies, and some days it’s not and it’s all about avoiding bogeys. I knew I was playing good, I knew if I stayed patient things would go my way, fortunately they started to.”

In this event, Kuchar has six top-10 finishes in 11 total appearances. A win Sunday would be the eighth of his PGA TOUR career and first since the 2014 RBC Heritage.

Running through the rest of the top five 

Bubba Watson went on a back nine serge and shot a 4-under par round of 68. No left-handed golfer has won the Memorial Tournament, though Watson came close finishing in solo third place in 2014. He will have another chance on Sunday.

“It’s always good to have a shot,” he said. “It’s going to be fun around here. It’s a tough golf course, as we know, and we’re always looking forward to that. The weather seems like it’s going to be good, we have normal tee times. It will be a battle, no matter where we are, what position we are at the end of the day.”

Justin Thomas battled his swing on a couple of occasions pitching the ball from one side of the rough to the other on the 10th hole, but still managed to escape a big number.

“It’s a tough tee shot for me, and I just hit an awful 7-iron,” Thomas said. “I shouldn’t have been trying to go at that pin, because that left bunker you can use the slope and get it close. I was trying to play right of the pin because using the slope and with the pin being left and I just pushed it. It was a really, really bad swing, but I shouldn’t have been going at the pin.”

Jason Dufner’s lead evaporated rather quickly and he was able to stay in contention posting a 5-over par 78 and tying for third place at -9.

“I’m still in this tournament, a couple of shots back on Sunday,” said Dufner. “So today was pretty pathetic on all accounts. So have to play better tomorrow.”

Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide third round leaderboard

1. Daniel Summerhays -13

2. Matt Kuchar -10

T3. Bubba Watson -9

T3. Justin Thomas -9

T3. Jason Dufner -9

T6. Rickie Fowler -8

T6. Jamie Lovemark -8

T8. Kevin Streelman -7

T8. Kevin Kisner -7

T8. Jordan Spieth -7

Noteworthy pairings

Rod Pampling & Matthew Griffin 7:50– The first group out and both from Australia. Pampling had a hole in one during this event last year.

Kevin Kisner & Jordan Spieth 1:05– Spieth gets a break from Justin Thomas and will be paired with another good friend.

Jason Dufner & Rickie Fowler 1:25– Fowler opened up his home to Dufner over the winter and both speak quite highly of each other.

Bubba Watson & Justin Thomas 1:35– This will be a good pairing to watch regardless. Either you will see world class golf or the ball literally could go anywhere. Thomas had some driver troubles in his second round and went from one side of the rough to the other Saturday on the 10th hole. If Watson being included in this label needs explained, then clearly you don’t watch golf, he has an exciting brand of golf though sometimes his shot can get away from him.

Daniel Summerhays & Matt Kuchar 1:45– The leaders tee off. Summerhays seeks his first PGA TOUR victory and Kuchar looks for a second Memorial Tournament title.

He said it

“Walking from 15 to 16, a little kid just kind of gave me a high five and said, ‘You’re going to break the course record today.’ I said, ‘Are you serious?’ The first time we talked about it the whole day. It just happened to be a coincidence, but you never know what would happen if the little kid didn’t call me out. It’s almost like a baseball pitcher and guys saying, ‘Hey, you’re pitching a perfect game, did you know that?’ He looked like 8, 9, 10 years old. Probably 12 years old. But it’s all fun. We’re here to entertain.” – James Hahn who settled for a 7-under par 65 tying for low round of the tournament

“Whatever happens is going to happen. Honestly, that’s Muirfield Village. A train wreck can happen at any moment, and that’s why it’s such a great golf course because it does test everything. Legitimately from the first hole to the 18th hole, there’s a double bogey somewhere in there. Honestly I’ve got so much to think about out there right now. A lot of times I feel you get out there and you get close to the lead or whatever, you kind of turn in, you’re kind of trying to hold on to whatever you can get at the moment. Right now I’m excited to go play golf.” – Daniel Summerhays

“Just a naive kind of sophomore in college at BYU, and I went off one day with the putter. I was making everything. And not just short, I was making 20, 25-footers. And I leaned over to Coach (Bruce) Brockbank and I said, ‘Coach, the putter is making sweet love to me,’ so they named my putter Sweet Love. I’ll even get texts from some of my college teammates, to let Sweet Love loose today or something like that.” – Summerhays on his putting

19th hole

Jim Herman posted the lone bogey free round shooting a 5-under par 67, placing him in a tie for 14th place… The leader/co-leader of the Memorial Tournament going into  the final round has gone on to win 19 times since the event’s 1976 inception, with William McGirt’s win last year the most recent instance… Si Woo Kim became the second player to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament, injuring his ankle while attempting to execute a bunker shot on the 17th hole.

Picture of the day

A local news station had a little bit of trouble explaining how Jason Dufner lost his second round lead at the Memorial Tournament.

Photo credit: Chris Dazen/DYST Now

Author: Jhavelka

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