FARMINGTON — It was all set up for a storybook ending -- hometown boy returns in the midst of the worst slump of his professional career and wins his first pro tournament in front of an adoring gallery of friends, family and neighbors before riding off into the sunset.

Unfortunately for Daniel Summerhays it didn’t quite work out that way as the 35-year-old ex-BYU golfer, who grew up five minutes from Oakridge Country Club, couldn’t make enough birdies Sunday and ended up finishing in sixth place, two shots behind winner Kris Ventura.

Ventura, a 24-year-old who was part of Oklahoma State’s 2018 national championship team, fired a final-round 65 to come from way behind to win, outlasting Joshua Creel in a three-hole playoff. It was just the fourth Korn Ferry Tour event of the year for Ventura, who had started the day in a tie for 10th place. His $130,500 first-place check helped him jump to No. 16 on this year’s points list with his victory.

“I’m excited -- it’s pretty unbelievable,” said Ventura, who is half Mexican and half Norwegian and displays flags from both nations on his golf bag. He had finished third at the BMW event in South Carolina earlier this month after going through Monday qualifying. Now he’s in prime position to make the PGA Tour next year.

He defeated Creel, a 29-year-old who grew up not too far away in Cheyenne, Wyoming, after both players finished at 14-under 270. Both had parred No. 18 twice in the playoff and then Ventura won with a par on the par-4 10th after Creel found tree trouble on his drive and missed a 15-foot par putt. It marked the first playoff in the event since 2015 when Patton Kizzire defeated Kang Sung-hoon at Thanksgiving Point.

Daniel was trying to add to the Summerhays family legacy at Oakridge where he had won the Utah State Amateur 19 years earlier as a 16-year-old Davis High student. His uncle Bruce had an astounding victory at the Utah Open at the age of 64, the oldest champion ever, in 2008. Then last summer, it was Daniel’s nephew, Preston, who won the State Amateur, becoming the youngest champion ever at age 15.

Daniel Summerhays is greeted by fans after finishing the 18th hole during the 2019 Utah Championship at the Oakridge Country Club in Farmington on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Daniel Summerhays is greeted by fans after finishing the 18th hole during the 2019 Utah Championship at the Oakridge Country Club in Farmington on Sunday, June 30, 2019. | Silas Walker, Deseret News

Summerhays began the day in a tie with Justin Lower at 11-under-par, with four golfers lurking a shot behind, three golfers two shots behind and another seven, including eventual champion Ventura, three back.

He made a birdie at No. 3 to pull into a three-way tie for the lead, but a bogey at the next hole dropped him back. By the time he got to No. 7, he was already three shots off the lead. Summerhays looked to be getting some momentum when he birdied No. 9 with a 10-foot putt.

Then came what was probably the turning point of the final round.

After a great drive on the 517-yard par-4 10th hole, he pulled a pitching wedge from 190 yards with a strong wind blowing behind him, off to the left and slightly long. From a “dead” position, he pitched 25 feet past the hole and missed his putt.

“The shot on 10 really hurt me, put me behind the eight ball,” Summerhays said. “That made it where I had to play really well down the stretch.”

The wind really started gusting at that point and even though he had said earlier in the week that he enjoyed challenging conditions, Summerhays said “it sure got tough on that back nine” because of the wind.

He made a nice par at 13 after hitting his drive in the trees and had a terrific chance for birdie at 14, but his 7-footer slid by on the right side. He nearly chipped in for eagle at No. 15 and made birdie, but that was his last of the day.

“I felt like I had a chance the whole day,” Summerhays said. “I felt like it was going to be a storybook tale, but overall I feel really good about my performance.”

Ryan Brehm, Charlie Saxon and Kevin Dougherty all tied for third at 271, a stroke behind Ventura and Creel.

Orem’s Zac Blair finished in a tie for 11th place at 10-under par after a 67 and won $16,665, moving up nine spots to No. 53 on the points list. Blair said he plans to play in all but one of the remaining Korn Ferry Tour tournaments.

Four straight bogeys at holes nine through 12 killed Steele DeWald’s hopes of a top-25 finish that would have given him a spot in next week’s Korn Ferry Tour event in New York. The Park City professional finished with a 73 that left him in a tie for 41st place at 280.

Summerhays, who earned $26,100 and moved up to 107th on the points list, is keeping to the schedule he set at the start of the year and will skip three of the next four Korn Ferry events, playing only in Colorado in two weeks. Then he’ll play in a Southern California event and at Portland.

“It was a gratifying week playing and performing in front of my hometown,” he said. “I’ve played in front of U.S. Open and PGA Championship crowds. You make a big putt and the hair on the back of your neck will stand up because the roars are so loud. But none have been as emotional as the cheers and roars this week. I feel so grateful and proud of my performance this week.”