Summers triumphs at dramatic QLD PGA
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2014 Queensland PGA Championship | Wrap | 16 Feb 2014
45 year old New South Welshman, Anthony Summers, might have taken longer than most to secure his first PGA Tour of Australasia victory but as he heads back to his home in New South Wales tonight after his breakthrough win at the Queensland PGA Championship he is no doubt a very happy man.
The three shot victory over New Zealander Ryan Fox in the Tier 2 event at the City Golf Club in the suburbs of Toowoomba came after a hard fought battle today with third round leader Fox.
Summers snatched an early break when he reached the turn in 2 under and at that point had a one shot lead. That became two when Summers birdied the 12th but at the 13th he would bogey after one of his very few missed fairways followed by a three putt and Fox birdied. As they walked to the 14th tee both were tied at 20 under and three ahead of Dartnall and Bransdon.
Fox hit yet another wild drive while Summers got things back on track with a fine tee shot. Fox came up just short with his approach from a bunker alongside an adjacent green but was able to save par.
Summers on the other hand hit one of the best putt of the many he holed during the week from 13 feet for birdie and he was ahead again.
“That was probably the key moment and the best roll I have put on one in the last two days,” said the winner.
Then would come the first of two dramatic moments over the closing stages. At the downhill par three 15th, Summers his a tee shot that appeared all over the flag. Running across and above the green, however, are electricity lines and his ball hit them and bounced back off the green. He was entitled to hit another which he did and almost miraculously hit the same shot with the same result.
His third tee shot (again without penalty) finished just off the back edge but when Fox hit his tee shot to 10 feet it appeared there might be yet another swing. Summers though would save par and Fox missed and they walked to the 16th tee with the Summers still one ahead.
“I though both shots were great in the air,” said Summers when asked how good the initial tee shots had been. "I was not sure exactly where they might finish but they both looked pretty good. Off the club I did not want to hit either of them again that’s for sure.
The 16th is a shortish par four which doglegs right at almost 90 degrees. Summers chose a 3 wood from the tee for placement and surprisingly again missed the fairway. This time his task looked almost impossible.
He appeared blocked from not only the flag but the green. There was small gap but was it worth the risk?
Soon the crowd would tell the story. Summers struck the ball through a gap almost under and over the trees and the ball pitched six feet short, checked, and then trickled into the right hand side of the hole.
There was not a big crowd at the City Golf Club today but they made known what they thought of the miraculous shot and the ever humble Summers could hardly contain his almost embarrassment yet excitement.
“Better to be lucky but good,” he said as he walked to the green.
He had been lucky, sure, but there was a fair level of skill in the shot he had just executed. Fox could only par the 16th and the difference was three.
“I could not believe that shot. As I put my wedge down over it I said oh please just be nice because if it hits the first trees it could be back at my feet and if it hits the second ones (trees) then I might not have a shot.
“It clipped something but the next thing I heard was a cheer when it hit the green and a roar when it went in the hole. I did not only not see it go in the hole I could not even see the flag. I just kind of guessed where the hole was.
“If somebody had said before I hit the shot I could walk up and put it thirty feet from the hole I would have taken it in a heartbeat.”
Summers, by now no doubt a little pumped, then found the green in two at the par five 17th and two putted for birdie effectively eliminating any further challenge as although Fox would also birdie the same hole, the three shot gap was too great and Summers won by three over Fox, by five over David Bransdon and by six over defending champion Brad Kennedy and West Australian Stephen Dartnall.
Summers had been forced to not only overcome a determined and impressive Ryan Fox but a back injury that threatened to derail his week. The back had become such an issue on Saturday afternoon that he spent an hour with the physio on site, James Wilshire, who recommended Summers do nothing on Saturday night including what was to be a pre arranged sponsors dinner.
“This morning it felt a bit iffy when I was carrying the bag down to the car so I decided not to go to the range and James worked on me again,” added Summers. "Thankfully nobody came in so he could work on me for about 75 minutes and then I went and hit a few balls in the nets and we were on our way. It did not inhibit me at all today but I have a history of back injury and am wary on which way it could go.
When asked what the victory meant to him Summers responded with joy. "It is a whole bunch of stuff now. I am just so excited and will be even more so when I get home tomorrow and share it with my family and my team.
“It is relief also as I have had so many opportunities and have not been able to grab them so that’s fantastic in itself. There are a lot of emotions including sadness that my parents aren’t here to share it all but I am just very excited and am loving it.”
One of the reasons Summers needed to get back to Sydney tonight is that tomorrow he has two lessons to attend to as he contemplates a greater role in teaching. Maybe that can be put on hold for a while now as he contemplates instead security of tenure on the PGA Tour of Australasia and perhaps beyond.
Queensland amateur Taylor MacDonald finished in a share of 14th position to be the leading amateur after weekend rounds of 66 and 65, further highlighting his promise.