FARMINGTON — It was a strange week of golf at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Utah Championship with no fans allowed to watch the action at Oakridge Country Club. Not that there ever were large galleries in the past like you see on tournaments on TV, but this year golfers played with absolutely no one watching except a scorekeeper and an occasional media member.

When Daniel Summerhays walked off the 18th green midafternoon Sunday, a small gallery had somehow materialized, maybe 75 people, who were there to watch Summerhays play perhaps his final hole as a touring professional golfer.

Even though it turned out to be his worst hole of the round, the small gallery of volunteers, club staff, media and perhaps a few who had sneaked in, applauded for a solid 30 seconds as Summerhays worked his way to the scoring area.

“That was the longest stretch of goosebumps I’ve ever had walking off the 18th green,” he said. “Every single hair on my body was on end, I felt the love, I felt the gratitude, the support, friendship — what an incredible scene for me.”

Summerhays had just shot his best round ever at Oakridge, where he has played thousands of times over the past 30 years. He made eight birdies and an eagle and finished with a 9-under-par 62, what he called “100-percent my best round ever here” to finish at 20-under-par 264.

Who knew that he would be back three hours later after the temperature had dropped 25 degrees and a steady rain was coming down, to play in a three-way sudden-death playoff.

Unfortunately for Summerhays, a storybook finish wasn’t in the cards as he lost in the playoff to Kyle Jones, who made a clutch par putt on the first hole and a six-foot birdie on the second hole to take home the $117,000 first-place check.

“I felt like I hit it worse today, It comes back to grinding it out and it paid off today,” said Jones, a 26-year-old Californian, who played college golf at Baylor.

Also in the playoff was Paul Haley II, a 32-year-old from Dallas, who had shared the second- and third round leads with Jones as they went toe-to-toe during the final two rounds and in the playoff. 

The playoff started on hole 10 in the rain and all three hit poor drives off to the right and had to hit up short on the 507-yard par-4. All three had makeable putts, but Summerhays’ 15-footer just missed and the other two made putts from 12 and 10 feet, respectively, eliminating Summerhays.

At the second playoff hole, No. 18, Jones hit his approach within six feet and after Haley missed from 40, Jones sank the putt for the win, his first on the Korn Ferry Tour. 

LIke he did a year ago when he finished sixth, Summerhays began the day at 11-under par, only this time he was in a tie for 28th place instead of tied for the lead as in 2019.

It didn’t start great when he missed a short birdie putt at the par-5 No. 2 hole, but he made four birdies before the turn to get to 15-under on the day. After making birdies at 11 and 13, he hit a shot from 240 yards to within eight feet and sank the putt for eagle. Suddenly he was atop the leaderboard at about the time the leaders were just getting started, at 19-under par.

He sank birdie putts from about 12 feet at the next two holes to get to 10-under on the day and 21-under for the tournament.

Then at 18, his drive caught the thick rough and his approach was short on the fringe 50 feet away. His putt came up 10 feet short and his putt just missed, his first bogey of the day. 

“I wish I had the last hole back, but it’s hard to complain about eight birdies and an eagle,” Summerhays lamented afterwards. “You throw a bogey in there somewhere whether it’s the first hole or the last hole, but I hit so many good shots. That was a rush, that was really fun.”

At the time, it seemed likely that one of those 27 golfers ahead of him would pass him by, but thanks to a steady wind and the pressure of the final round, no one made a run.

Will Zalatoris birdied 15 and 16 to get to 19-under and had a 10-foot putt at No. 18 to tie Summerhays. With Summerhays looking on from the Oakridge patio, the putt curled around the back of the hole and sat on the lip.

Summerhays had been watching the tournament on the Golf Channel and went to the range to warm up when it was apparent Jones and Haley were going to tie him. 

“Hats off the them, they absolutely battled,” Summerhays said of the other two.

At his first press interview, Summerhays, who had stated before the tournament it would be his last, said he was undecided about his future, whether he would play more tournaments this summer before he becomes a schoolteacher and golf coach at Davis High in the fall.

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After losing the playoff, Summerhays indicated he would likely play next week at the Korn Ferry event in Colorado as his wife and four children take a road trip to Missouri to visit his wife’s family. 

“It would’ve been unbelievable to take the trophy home and to have one more,” Summerhays said. “We’ll have a little family powwow and we’ll evaluate how we want to see the rest of the summer go and what we’re doing.”

Ogden’s Patrick Fishburn had a disappointing final-round with a 1-under-par 70 that left him at 271 in a tie for 36th place 

Sandy’s Mike Weir finished in a tie for 67th place at 275 with a an even-par 71 after three straight 68s in the first three rounds. He will start his Champions Tour career next month.

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