FARMINGTON — By now, Daniel Summerhays is in Colorado, getting ready to play later this week at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes.

Wait, didn’t Summerhays just retire from competitive golf?

Yes, that was the plan, anyway. However, the 36-year-old former BYU all-American spoiled his own retirement plans with an unexpected second-place finish in the Utah Championship at his home course on Sunday and he decided to play at least one more event on the Korn Ferry Tour. After all, he and his family of six were already planning to drive to Missouri in their Honda Odyssey to visit his wife’s family in Missouri, so a stop in Colorado was on the way.

As Summerhays texted Monday, “A pit stop on the way to Missouri ... Summer side hustle for the teacher.”

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At the start of the week, the tournament at Oakridge was going to be Summerhays’ final tournament as a touring professional. He has already made plans to be the golf coach this fall at Davis High School, where he will also teach a few classes in marketing, entrepreneurship and physical education.

He was asked many times what might happen if he happened to win the tournament at his home Oakridge Country Club course, which didn’t seem very likely considering his lack of playing the last six months or so as he recovered from foot surgery and stayed at home during the coronavirus crisis. 

He compared it to a Seinfeld episode where Jerry beat a kid in a race during fifth grade then never ran again because he finished on a win. “So maybe I choose not to run like Jerry,” he joked. But he acknowledged that he’d “probably play in a couple of more tournaments” this summer if he did win.

Summerhays played solidly all week, going into the final round tied for 28th place, and said he would have been happy with his fourth straight round in the 60s Sunday. Instead he saved the best for last. Summerhays posted eight birdies and an eagle to finish with a 9-under-par 62, which he called his “best round ever,” both at Oakridge and in the final round of a tournament.

Daniel Summerhays salutes the attendees after finishing the Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Summerhays came in third place. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

When he finished his 18 holes Sunday, he was in the lead, but 14 groups of golfers were still playing and the chances were that someone would pass him. Instead the weather turned cool and windy with a bit of rain and by the time the final twosome of Kyle Jones and Paul Haley II holed out on No. 18, they were the only ones tied with Summerhays at 20-under par 264.

After waiting around for three hours, Summerhays couldn’t quite get it going again and had to be content with a tie for second place behind Jones after making bogey on the first playoff hole.

Right after his 18-hole round, Summerhays had said he might play in Colorado, regardless of his eventual finish, but said it would be a team decision with his wife, Emily.

“A pit stop on the way to Missouri ... Summer side hustle for the teacher.” — Text from Daniel Summerhays

“I don’t know if that’s necessarily what I want any more,” he said. “I do like going out and competing and performing under the gun like that.”

 After the playoff, Summerhays had already made up his mind to keep on going, saying, “yeah, I’ll go play. Jack (his 12-year-old son) can miss a couple of junior golf tournaments for Dad.”

So what happens if he continues to play well and earns his way back on to the PGA Tour, where he was a regular for eight years?

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Although that’s a possibility, Summerhays seems pretty content to continue with his plans to stay at home with his family and become a teacher.

“I keep painting that picture (of competitive golf) and it continues to go the other way for me,” he said.   

Summerhays joked that perhaps he can play in a tournament during school fall break this year or make golf his schoolteacher summer job. But he seems set on leaving the life of a touring professional golfer behind. 

“Maybe part of my problem is I love so many other things besides golf,” he said. “Out there on the course my thoughts went to the kids — my kids and kids in the high school and that gets me excited. We’ll see what the next step will look like.” 

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