With U.S. Mid-Am on Pause, Foust & Persons Are in Top 64; Hanstad Is on the Bubble
September 12, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle
ERIN, Wis. -- A storm that hit southeastern Wisconsin on Sunday dumped more water on the two courses that are being used for the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur than they could possible drain in one day without considerable assistance, both human and mechanical. Erin Hills got 4 inches of rain, and Blue Mound Golf and Country Club got 5.3.
Alex Benson-Crone, the superintendent at Blue Mound arrived at the course at 3:15 a.m. Monday and promptly sent out a text, which read: "There is zero chance we are playing golf today."
But workers from nine nearby courses came to help, and 20 pumps were put into action, extracting standing water from bunkers and fairways. There was similarly heroic work taking place at Erin Hills, from 2 a.m. on. As a result, they did actually play golf on Monday, although they weren't able to complete the stroke-play qualifying portion of the tournament. That will have to wait until Tuesday morning. If there is a playoff to trim the field to 64 for the first round of matches, it will start on the 10th hole at Erin Hills. The match-play part of the tournament,which will also be played at Erin Hills, will follow.
When play was suspended Monday night, Jake Shuman, a 26-year-old former golf professional turned financial planner, had gotten through the 36 holes of stroke play with only two bogeys, and he was bogey free on Monday while shooting a 4-under-par 66 at Blue Mound. That gave him an aggregate score of 134 (7 under), which has him tied for the lead in the clubhouse with Sam Jones.
"I wanted to make money," Shuman said of his decision to turn pro after he concluded his college career at Duke. "I played (as a pro) for 2 1/2 to 3 years and loved it. But I got tired of the travel, and frankly, I wasn't making enough money. So I stopped playing over two years ago. It was a long year of not playing in anything."
Jones, 25 (the minimum age for mid-ams), is a former New Zealand Amateur champion and also a former New Zealand long drive champ who played college golf at the University of Western Georgia. His timeline is the reverse of Shuman's. He kept his amateur status after college, but now plans to turn pro in the not-too-distant future. After a clean back-nine 34 at Erin Hills on Monday, he made four birdies, three pars and two bogeys and wound up with a 4-under 67, matching his first-round score at Blue Mound.
First-round lead Stewart Hagestad -- he shot 64 at Blue Mound -- was even through seven holes at Erin Hills on Monday when play was suspended. So he's 6 under and one behind the two leaders in the clubhouse with 11 holes to go. Also at 6 under is Hugh Foley, who has 14 holes still to play at Erin Hills.
Another three shots back, and in the clubhouse, is Sam Foust, the former Edina High School star (he was the No. 1-ranked player in Minnesota as a senior in 2015) who played college golf at Oregon and is now an assistant at the University of San Diego. Having shot 67 at Blue Mound, he started on the 10th hole at Erin Hills on Monday and ran into a rough patch late in the back nine, going double-bogey-bogey on 16-17-18. But he rallied with four birdies and one bogey for a front-nine 32, which enabled him to salvage a 71, and he's tied for ninth at 138.
Also assured of making it to match play is Josh Persons, 38, the former North Dakota state high school champion from Fargo who played for Minnesota nearly two decades ago, and then spent eight years as a professional, one of the them as a regular on the Nationwide -- now Korn Ferry -- Tour. After a first-round 73 at Blue Mound on Saturday and a front nine of 36 at Erin Hills on Monday, he was 4 over for the tournament and on the outside looking in. But he rallied with 33 on the back nine. A birdie at the 457-yard, par-4 10th hole got him going in the right direction, and he birdied the 429-yard, par-4 11th, as well. Persons bogeyed the par-3 13th (181 yards), but he took advantage of both the of long back-nine par 5s, birdying the 592-yard 15th and the 639-yard 18th for a 69.
His 36-hole tab of 142 has him tied for 39th.
Bryce Hanstad, the 2022 MGA Mid-Players (state mid-am match-play) winner, could also crack the top 64, but he's on the number now, with 14 holes to go. The former Minnesota State Amateur champ (2007) from Alexandria shot even-par 70 at Blue Mound in the first round, but he was 2 over for the four holes that he played at Erin Hills on Monday. That put him into a massive, 18-way tie for 50th place. So he probably needs to play those last 14 holes of stroke play in even par -- or better -- Tuesday morning in order to get a spot in the Round of 64 later in the day.
Sammy Schmitz, the six-time MGA Player of the Year and the winner of this tournament in 2015, will not make it to match play. He withdrew after a first-round 75.
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 will advance to match play Tuesday)
(The match-play portion of the tournament will be played at Erin Hills.)
T1. Jake Shuman -7 68EH - 66BM -- 134
T1. Sam Jones -7 67BM - 67EH -- 134
T3. Stewart Hagestad -6 64BM (through 25 holes)
T3. Hugh Foley -6 66BM (through 22 holes)
T5. Matthew Naumec -5 67BM (through 25 holes)
T5. Dalton Melnyk -5 65EH (through 24 holes)
T7. Thad Hudgens -4 68EH (through 24 holes)
T7. James Leow -4 65BM (through 24 holes)
T9. Sam Foust -3 67BM - 71EH -- 138
T9. Ben Cooley -3 67BM (through 23 holes)
T9. Davis Womble -3 67BM (through 23 holes)
T39. Josh Persons +1 73BM - 69EH -- 142
T50. Bryce Hanstad +2 70BM (through 22 holes)
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