Whenever there's even a hint of summer in the air, you're likely to see the name Summerhays in golf news on the sports pages.
This summer it has been 15-year-old Boyd Summerhays who has been grabbing most of the attention in the Summerhays clan. But his uncle Bruce is oh-so-close to getting his name back in the spotlight as he tries to make it on the Senior PGA Tour.Summerhays turned 50 in February and immediately set out, like so many professionals his age, to make the senior circuit. He's played in a couple of senior tournaments during his quest, but has found the going tough.
"It's fun trying to qualify," he says, but adds, "it's not easy."
For example, in four successive tries, he finished 1-under, 2-under, 2-under and 1-under in the one-day qualifiers and missed qualifying by one shot each time.
He's going to try to qualify in Michigan next week and is hoping to receive a sponsor's exemption for the Franklin Quest Championship later this month at Park Meadows (Aug. 26-28). And there's always the new Senior Series, a second tour fashioned after the Nike Tour with purses over $100,000.
"I'm not discouraged," said Summerhays. "I'm going to give it three solid years of good hard golf."
DOUBLE DIPPING: Summerhays caused some sparks at last week's Gus Paulos-West Ridge Open when he tried to collect checks in two divisions by paying entry fees in both the senior and regular divisions of the tournament.
When Summerhays finished in a tie for second overall, he stood to make $3,500 - $2,500 for the second-place tie and $1,000 for being the low senior. But the Utah Section PGA nixed the idea because of an existing rule.
"There is a policy in place that's been there for five or six years, which says a senior who plays the same tees takes his highest finish," said Jeff Beaudry, the Utah Section executive director. Beaudry also said golf has always had a precedent of "one score for one purse."
Nevertheless, Beaudry has agreed to review the policy in a board meeting next week, after Summerhays forced the issue last weekend.
"I just want to make sure the section is on stable footing with this," said Summerhays. "I want to solidify the situation for the guys coming up, who will turn 50 soon."
Beaudry believes Summerhays is an anomaly and that there won't be that many players who will be able to compete for both the senior and regular purses in the future.
FRANKLIN QUEST FIELD: The field for the Franklin Quest Championship got stronger this week with the addition of three top senior golfers.
No, it's not Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
Rather, it's Tom Weiskopf, Kermit Zarley and Jay Sigel.
Most golf fans know about Weiskopf, the former British Open champ, who played in the shadow of Nicklaus most of his life, and Zarley, mainly for his odd name.
But the lesser-known Sigel is better than both of them, at least this year. Sigel was known for the past couple of decades as the premier over-25 amateur in the country as he won the U.S. Amateur and played on several Walker Cup teams. Last year when he turned 50 he decided to give the Senior Tour a whirl and has been very successful, winning close to $400,000 and ranking 14th on the money list.
STRAY SHOTS: Gus Paulos is sponsoring a $50,000 hole-in-one contest at the University Hospital-Utah Open this year. Any player who makes a hole-in-one at the par-3 No. 7 hole on any of the six days (three days of pro-ams, three tournament days) will receive $25,000 with $25,000 going to the hospital . . . Qualifying for the Utah Open will be Aug. 15 at Wingpointe Golf Course, with the tournament proper set for Aug. 19-21 at Willow Creek Country Club . . . Riverbend Golf Course in Salt Lake County will hold its grand opening ceremonies this Friday at 10:30 a.m. . . . Boyd Summerhays led the four-man Utah team to an impressive victory in the Junior Americas Cup tournament in Mexico City this week. The Utah girls finished 10th in Hawaii.