OAKMONT, Pa. — It’s been that kind of month for Daniel Summerhays. One moment you’re up, the next you’re down. One day you make a birdie to get into a playoff at U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying, the next day you’re the sixth man when five advance.
The emotional roller coaster continued on Friday at Oakmont as Summerhays—who still managed to get into the championship as an alternate the Monday of Open week—shot a first-round 74, only to follow it up hours later with tournament-low 65 to get him on the leader board heading into the weekend.
“I think at any level and in any profession, you always go through times where you feel like you’re inadequate or you, you know, you’re not good enough,” Summerhays said. “And that round today is definitely going to be one that I can push the replay button on at times where you don’t feel like you quite have it, that was really special for sure.
The most impressive part of Summerhays’ Friday play was that after playing 27 holes in four over par, he completed the final nine in five under par, making birdies on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 17th holes.
Between rounds Summerhays said he worked out a couple issues on the greens with his brother/coach, Boyd Summerhays, that proved pivotal in turning the day around. “Actually, I drove it great this morning,” Daniel said. “My putting was just off. My speed was off. … I had three three-putts.”
Asked where to rank the round, the 32-year-old in his sixth season on the PGA Tour said it jumped ahead of the 60 he shot in a college event while playing at BYU. “I had a putt for a 59 and made 12 birdies,” he recalled. “But this was 65 on Friday at Oakmont in the U.S. Open.”
The afternoon performance left Summerhays tied for seventh, three strokes back of Dustin Johnson and Andrew Landry, with half the field still to play their second rounds on Saturday. It’s a similar position to where Summerhays found himself a year ago at Chambers Bay while playing his second U.S. Open. There Summerhays shot a second-round 67 to jump into fifth place.
“I’m really enjoying this high right now,” Summerhays said, “and getting better at mitigating the lows.”
Of course, if he could get rid of them entirely over the weekend, that would be the ideal.