It has been quite a year on the PGA Senior Tour for Utah's Bruce Summerhays, who has already won nearly a half million dollars.
After not missing a tournament in four months, he's finally getting a chance to spend a week at home in Heber, just 20 minutes from Park Meadows Golf Club, site of this week's Franklin Quest Championship.He's not getting much time to relax, however. Tuesday was another busy day for Summerhays as he gave a golf clinic at the Homestead Golf Course near his home and hustled over to Park Meadows. After graciously handling a few media interviews, whe as able to hit about eight balls on the driving range.
Then he went out on the course and defeated nine fellow seniors in the Merrill Lynch Shootout.
"That's a nice way to start the week and to do it in front of the hometown fans," said Summerhays, who pocketed $5,000 for the win plus $400 for making four birdies. That's more than he made the entire week at last year's Franklin Quest tourney, but a far cry from waht he's banked so far this year.
Summerhays has already earned an eye-popping $490,211, which ranks him 14th on the Senior money list. Although he didn't have any outcome-based goals for this year, he's earned more than he ever imagined.
"It's just been terrific," said Summerhays. "Now I need to win. Winning is everything. A win puts you at a new level."
Summerhays feels he needs a victory - or two - to beat Hale Irwin, who already owns a Senior victory, for rookie of the year honors.
This could be the week because he is playing well right now and he is playing a course he's very familiar with. Getting a win Tuesday in front of an appreciative audience certainly helped.
Utah's other Senior Tour golfer, Bear Lake pro Bob Betley, was the first player eliminated in the Shootout, where 10 players begin together with one being eliminated on each of the nine hole.
Betley was followed to the locker room, in order, by Orville Moody, Billy Casper, Walter Morgan, John Paul Cain, Gene Littler, Larry Ziegler and Jerry McGee.
That left the two Bruces, Crampton and Summerhays, for the final hole. Crampton had thrilled the gallery by nearly holing out his tee shot at the par-3 16th hole.
At 18, Summerhays outdrove Crampton by a long way, then hit an 8-iron to within 6 feet. Crampton's approach was within 20 feet, but after he missed, Summerhays rolled in his birdie putt for the victory.
After pro-ams Wednesday and Thursday, the 54-hole tournament proper begins Friday and runs through Sunday.