Hanstad KO's No. 1 Seed in Mid-Am; Persons Beats No. 3
September 15, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle
ERIN, Wis. -- With nine holes remaining at the 7,309-yard, par-72 Erin Hills course in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying portion of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, it was not at all clear whether Bryce Hanstad was even going to make it to the match-play part of the tournament. Had he played those nine holes in even par, he would have been in a massive tie for 53rd place -- and part of a 17-for-12 playoff. Had he played them in anything over par, he would have been on his way back home to Edina.
Instead, the 2022 MGA Mid-Players champion shot a 2-under 34 for those last nine holes of qualifying, which put him in an eight-way tie for 28th place at 142 (70-72). He avoided the playoff and got the No. 32 seed. That meant, however, that if he won his first match, which he did (he beat the No. 33 seed, Connor Lyon 3&2), he could be facing the No. 1 seed, Jake Shuman, in his second match.
And that is precisely what happened. On Wednesday morning, Shuman survived a late rally by Spicer and won their Round of 64 match 1 up.
But on Wednesday afternoon, he was dismissed from the tournament by Hanstad. The 35-year-old former Minnesota State Amateur champ -- Hanstad, who is from Alexandria, was also the medalist and match-play winner in the Resorters tournament at Alexandria CC in the same year that he won the State Am, 2007 -- lost the 491-yard, par-4 first hole to Shuman's birdie. But he won the 451-yard, par-4 fourth and the 456-yard, par-4 sixth with pars, and Hanstad went 2 up when he won the 441-yard, par-4 eighth with another par.
Shuman, who shot 68 at Erin Hills on the way to a 36-hole total of 134 in qualifying, cut the deficit he was facing in half by winning the 10th hole (458 yards, par 4). Hanstad responded with a birdie at the 11th (433, par 4). They halved the next two holes with pars, before Shuman won the 14th (582, par 5) with a birdie. When they arrived at the 18th tee, Hanstad was still 1 up, and he secured his 2-up victory by winning the long, 660-yard, par-5 finishing hole with a par.
So Hanstad will take on the No. 48 seed, Ryan Greer, Thursday morning in the Round of 16. Greer won three of the first five holes against No. 16 Thad Hudgens Wednesday afternoon and was 4 up after nine on the way to a 5&4 victory.
Eight of the top 10 seeds made it through the Round of 64, which was spread over Tuesday and Wednesday because of the heavy rains that hit both of the courses being used for stroke play -- Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf & Country Club -- on Sunday. (All matches are being played at Erin Hills.) But only five survived the Round of 32, and none of the top three got through to the Round of 16.
The No. 2 seed, Sam Jones, who tied Shuman for medalist honors in qualifying, was sent packing by No. 34 Scott Turner, 3&2.
As for the No. 3 seed, Dalton Melnyk, the son of former U.S. Amateur champ Steve Melnyk, he was sent home by a former University of Minnesota star and reinstated amateur, Josh Persons, 2&1. Melnyk was 2 up after 12 holes, but Persons, a former North Dakota state high school champion, won the 200-yard, par-3 13th with a par, the 582-yard, par-5 14th with a birdie, the 351-yard, par-4 15th with a birdie and the 184-yard, par-3 16th with a par. That 3-4-3-3 stretch transformed a 2-down deficit into a 2-up lead, and Persons closed Melnyk out by halving the 17th, a 480-yard par 4, with a par.
Next up for Persons, 38, is 31-year-old Stewart Hagestad. He's the No. 14 seed, but he's got the highest World Amateur Golf Ranking in the Mid-Am field (No. 8). Hagestad, who has made to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur each of the last two years, earned his spot in the Round of 16 with a 5&3 victory over No. 19 seed Stephen Hale. Hale started the match with birdies on the first two holes, but Hagestad birdied three of the next five holes, and won four of them. He ended up 3 under for 15 holes.
Another top-10 seed who's gone is Sam Foust. He was No. 8. A former Edina High School star who played on an NCAA championship team at Oregon (2016) and is now the assistant coach at the University of San Diego, Foust birdied four of the first eight holes and was 4 up after 11 in his Round of 64 match against No. 57 Mitchell Ford. He halved the next two holes with birdies and won the 14th with a birdie to finish Ford off, 5&4.
But Foust got off to a less-than-great start against No. 40 Andrew Paysse, who was even par after three holes and 2 up. Paysse went bogey-double on the eighth and ninth holes,which enabled Foust to square the match. Foust was 2 over and Paysse 3 over when they made the turn, but they were a combined 5 under on the back nine. Paysse won the 10th with a birdie. Foust reciprocated by winning the 11th with a birdie, but Paysse went 1 up again when he birdied the 424-yard, par-4 12th. They tied the par-3 13th with pars, the par-5 14th with birdies and the last four holes with pars, which meant a 1-up victory for Paysse.
At Erin Hills (7,309 yards, par 71)
& Blue Mound Golf & Country Club (6,766 yards, par 70)
Stroke-play qualifying (the top 64 finishers advanced to match play)
T1. Jake Shuman -7 68EH - 66BM -- 134
T1. Sam Jones -7 67BM - 67EH -- 134
3. Dalton Melnyk - 6 65EH - 70BM -- 135
T4. Hugh Foley -5 66BM - 70EH -- 136
T4. Andrew Bailey -5 70EH - 66BM -- 136
T6. Sam Foust -3 67BM - 71EH -- 138
T6. Matthew McClean -3 72BM - 66EH -- 138
T6. Matthew Naumec -3 67BM - 71EH -- 138
T9. James Leow -2 65BM - 74EH -- 139
T9. Ryan Gutowski -2 69EH - 70BM -- 139
T9. Chad Wilfong -2 70EH - 69BM -- 139
T9. Ian Davis -2 71EH - 68BM -- 139
T9. Mark Costanza -2 69EH - 70BM -- 139
T9. Stewart Hagestad -2 64BM - 75EH -- 139
T9. Brad Nurski -2 72EH - 67BM -- 139
T28. Josh Persons +1 73BM - 69EH -- 142
T28. Bryce Hanstad +1 70BM - 72EH -- 142
Did not make the cut -- 144 (17-for-12 playoff)
T154. Max Tylke +8 75EH - 74BM -- 149
T154. Joe Gullion +8 74BM - 75EH -- 149
T223. Robert Newbold +14 78BM - 77EH -- 155
WD Sammy Schmitz 75BM
(The match-play portion of the tournament is being played at Erin Hills.)
Round of 64
(1) Jake Shuman def. (64) Austin Spicer 1 up
(32) Bryce Hanstad def. (33) Connor Lyon 3&2
(8) Sam Foust 1 up on (57) Mitchell Ford through 4 holes
(40) Andrew Paysse def. (25) Hayes Brown 1 up
(4) Andrew Bailey def. (61) John Quigley 1 up
(5) Hugh Foley def. (60) Alex Turner 3&1
(2) Sam Jones def. (63) Christian Raynor 5&4
(7) Matthew McClean def. (58) Christopher Anderson 6&4
(3) Dalton Melnyk 2&1 def. def. Matt Parziale 2&1
(35) Josh Persons def. (30) Pat Wilson 4&2
(14) Stewart Hagestad def. (51) Jason Schultz 2&1
(59) Chris Thayer def. (6) Matthew Naumec 2&1
Round of 32
(32) Hanstad def. (1) Shuman 1 up
(48) Ryan Greer def. (16) Thad Hudgens 5&4
(40) Andrew Paysse def. (8) Foust 1 up
(9) Ian Davis def. (24) Yaroslav Merkulov 2&1
(4) Bailey def. (29) Ryan Plitz 4&3
(5) Foley def. (28) Sam Jackson 3&2
(34) Scott Turner def. (2) Jones 3&2
(7) McClean def. (39) Casey Carnes 3&2
(10) Brad Nurski def. (42) Christian Sease 6&5
(35) Persons def. (3) Melnyk 2&1
(14) Hagestad def. (19) Stephen Hale 2&1