June 4, 2017: Daniel Summerhays shot a 4-under 68 that took him from a five-shot deficit to a three-shot lead Saturday in the Memorial.
More than his solid round was a collapse by Jason Dufner, who lost his lead with four straight bogeys on the front nine and hit two balls in the water on the back nine for a 77. Dufner went from the 36-hole record to four shots out of the lead.
At least he’s still in the game, and he has plenty of company.
India’s Anirban Lahiri fired six-birdies and 3 bogeys in the second round to card three-under-par 69 to rose 22 spots on the leaderboard tying at T27.
Summerhays was at 13-under 203. Matt Kuchar, who won the Memorial four years ago, ran off three straight birdies on the back nine and shot a 67 that gets him in the final group with Summerhays as he tries to end 82 PGA TOUR starts without a victory.
The last three winners of the Memorial had never won on the PGA TOUR, and Summerhays fits that mold. The 33-year-old from Utah is in his seventh year.
Bubba Watson overcame a heckler on the 18th hole with one last birdie for a 68. He was four shots behind along with Justin Thomas (69) and Dufner. Rickie Fowler (72) salvaged an up-and-down day and was five behind.
But it all started with Dufner.
“Today was pretty pathetic on all accounts, so have to play better tomorrow,” he said.
It started on the second hole when Dufner missed the green to the left from the rough and took bogey. He missed a 6-foot par putt on the third, then hit into the right bunker on the par-3 4th and made another bogey. And then he three-putted the par-5 fifth for a fourth straight bogey.
Dufner was still tied for the lead when his wedge on the par-5 11th spun back down the green and into the water, leading to double bogey. It was a three-shot swing when Summerhays made birdie, and Dufner never caught up.
He had said his breathing exercises over putting didn’t mean he would always have good days, and this was a bad one. Dufner had a pair of three-putts, and he twice missed birdie putts from 6 feet. He capped off his day by pulling his tee shot into the water and making another bogey.
“The tournament is not over,” Dufner said. “It will be over tomorrow.”
Summerhays wasn’t thinking about cutting into the lead when he started. He wasn’t thinking much about anything except the shot at hand, and he kept hitting good ones in the midst of Dufner’s streak of bogeys.
“A train wreck can happen at any moment,” Summerhays said. “And that’s why it’s such a great golf course because it does test everything. Legitimately from the first hole to the 18th hole, there’s a double bogey somewhere in there.”
Jordan Spieth knows the feeling. He was right in the mix until catching a downhill like in the bunker left of the par-3 eighth. He tried to play a perfect shot and barely got it out, then chipped down to 5 feet and missed the putt, making double bogey. Spieth started the back nine with two straight birdies only to follow with two straight bogeys. It added to a 71, and he was six shots behind.