Boyd Summerhays always knew he had the game to play on the PGA Tour. He just needed what he called the "access."
The 24-year-old Farmington resident, who has been making headlines as a golfer since the age of 8, finally earned his access to the PGA Tour on Monday afternoon.
Summerhays fired a final-round 73 in the 108-hole PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament at Winter Garden, Fla., to finish in a tie for 26th place at 8-under-par 424. Thirty-four players who shot 425 or better earned their cards for the 2004 season.
"I'm excited to go and see what I can do," Summerhays told the Golf Channel. "The hard part is getting there. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Summerhays began the day in great shape, in a tie for 10th place after a 67 in Round 5. After missing the fairway at No. 1 and making bogey, Summerhays hit 13 fairways in a row, making birdies at 2, 8 and 11 to get to 2-under on the day and 11-under. Then things got a bit nerve-wracking for Summerhays, who made some poor shots at the par-3 15th and needed a 7-footer just to make double bogey.
"That was the best double-bogey I've ever made in my life," he said.
Then he bogeyed the par-4 16th hole but came back with a par at 17, two-putting from 30 feet. Going into 18, all he needed was a bogey, but his drive ended up in the rough as did his second shot. However, Summerhays' wedge to the green ended up 15 feet away and he two-putted for the par.
Summerhays, the son of Lynn and Ann Summerhays and the nephew of Champions Tour regular Bruce Summerhays, started playing golf as a toddler and by the age of 8 won the Junior World Championship for his age group in San Diego.
He dominated junior golf in Utah for the next decade and even earned the No. 1 ranking in the United States as a 16-year-old. He attended Oklahoma State University, perhaps the premier college golf school in the country, before taking two years off to serve an LDS mission to Argentina.
When he returned in 2000, he played one year at OSU before deciding to turn professional at the age of 22. He won various tournaments in the Intermountain area, including the 2002 Utah Open. This year he finished second at the Utah Open, Provo Open and Salt Lake City Open.
He finished first in the first stage PGA qualifying in California and finished seventh in the second stage and was the only Utah golfer to qualify for the third and final stage.
After beginning with a 73 that put him in 84th place, Summerhays gradually worked his way up, shooting 72, 67, 72, 67 before his final-round 73.
Mathias Gronberg, who led the tournament most of the way, finished first and earned $50,000 after posting a six-round total of 412. Danny Ellis finished second at 414 and Michael Allen was third at 415. Others who qualified included former PGA regulars Steve Pate (423), Jay Delsing, Grant Waite and Danny Briggs (all at 425).
Former PGA regulars who failed to earn their cards for next year included Dennis Paulson, Olin Browne, Donnie Hammond, Carl Paulson, Jim Carter and David Sutherland.