Dihn Rallies to Win Women's Mid-Am Title; Hagestad Is Halfway to His 3rd Men's Crown
September 14, 2023 | 13 min.
ByMichael R Fermoyle
The Ryder Cup Matches are a biennial reminder to golf fans that putting takes on an even greater role in match play than it does in stroke play. Americans tend not to remember Ian Poulter for winning 17 times as a professional, or for winning three WGC championships. They remember him for all those crucial putts he made while he was securing the winning point in the 2004 Ryder Cup and going 4-0 in '08, 3-1 in 2012 and 4-0 again in the 2014 Ryder Cup Matches.
And it was putting that was responsible for the 180-degree turn that the championship match at the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur made Thursday on the back nine at Stonewall's North Course in Elverson, Pa.
Kelsey Chugg, who won this tournament in 2017, appeared to be on her way to another title. On Wednesday, the 32-year-old from Salt Lake City didn't have her best stuff tee to green in her semifinal match against the No. 2 seed, Jackie Rogowicz, but her putter bailed her out on several occasions and enabled her to win the match 1 up. Her putter was performing similar heroics for the No. 14 seed through the first 10 holes of the final, as Chugg built a 3-up lead against the No. 10 seed, Kimberly Dinhh. The 380-yard, par-4 11th hole looked as if it would be the clincher for Chugg, who had a 6-foot putt for birdie. Dinh was outside of her, 10 feet away, and she was putting for par.
Then Chugg's putter turned on her, and the momentum of the match went into reverse. Dinh made her 10-footer and saved par at the 11th -- and Chugg missed her 6-foote for birdie.
Instead of being 4 up with seven holes to play, she was 3 up. Then 2 up after she missed another short putt, this one a 4-footer for par at the 12th hole. At the par-3 13th (160 yards), she had a 3-footer to save par and tie the hole -- and she missed again. Now she was 1 up.
Having been given a kind of Get out of Jail for Free card, Dinh hit her approach to 15 feet at the 361-yard, par-4 14th and made a birdie to square the match.
The tables were reversed -- but only briefly -- when Dinh missed a little one for par at the 15th, but Chugg returned that favor by making a double bogey at the 385-yard, par-4 16th, and losing the hole to Dinh's bogey. So the match was tied once again. But that was the last hole that was given away. Dinh, a 31-year-old research specialist for Dow (the chemicals corporation, not the stock market index) who played golf for the University of Wisconsin but lives in Midland, Mich., birdied the 187-yard, par-3 17th and the 502-yard, par-5 18th. So she won six of the last seven holes, and pulled out a 2-up victory.
Dinh finished the match-play part of the tournament stronger than she started it. Facing the No. 49 seed, Truc Ly, in her first match (the Round of 64), Dinh was 6 over par and 1 down after making a triple-bogey 8 at the 520-yard eighth hole, but she was even par for the next eight holes and won the match 3&2. She didn't trail again until her quarterfinal match against No. 12 Gretchen Johnson. Dinh lost the par-5 third to Johnson's birdie, won the fourth with a par, lost the fifth to Johnson's birdie, but pulled even again by winning the par-3 sixth with a birdie. She took the lead for good with a birdie at the par-4 10th and never trailed again until Thursday's title match.
The women finished their Mid-Am on time, but the men failed the punctuality test -- for the third year in a row. It wasn't their fault. The weather in the New York City area was the culprit. Rain forced multiple suspensions of play duriing the stroke-play qualifying at Sleepy Hollow Country Club (Scarborough, N.Y.) and Fenway Golf Club (Scarsdale). That qualifying was supposed to be done by Sunday night, but it spilled over into Monday. As a result, alll of the matches got pushed back, and eventually, the 36-hole final was begun Thursday afternoon at Sleepy Eye, instead of Thursday morning, and it will have to be completed Friday morning.
If rain, fog and stoppages of play have become common in recent years at the U.S. Mid-Amateur, so has the presence of Stewart Hagestad in the later stages of the tournament. Actually, that's been a recurring theme since he first became eligible for this tournament (the minimum age is 25) in 2016 and won the first of his two-Mid-Am titles. And it looks as though he'll get his third on Friday, because he leads Evan Beck 5 up after the first 18 holes of a scheduled 36-hole final.
Hagestad managed to handle the fog delays that pushed the 2021 final back a full day, and defeated Mark Costanza 2&1 to claim the Mid-Am crown for the second time. Earlier this week, Hagestad, the No. 14 seed, and No. 19 Costanza had a rematch, in the Round of 32. Costanza had to play the last eight holes of his Round of 64 match against Bryce Hanstad, the two-time MGA Mid-Am winner -- and former Minnesota State Amateur champion -- in 4 under just to beat Hanstad 1 up. He was 4 under for 16 holes against Hagestad, but the 32-year-old from Southern California made seven birdies, was 6 under and won the match 2&1 once again.
Hagestad is the oldest player on the U.S. Walker Cup team every two years -- he's made the team four times -- and this year he was one who led the sensational final-day comeback that produced a victory for the Americans. In his six completed matches so far this week at Sleepy Hollow, he's been 5 under, 6 under, 7 under, 4 under and even. That. last one ended up being a 1-up victory over No. 18 Sam Jackson in the semifinals on Thursday morning. Hagestad had 1-up leads three times in the first 12 holes, but Jackson got back to even each time. The issue was settled at the 415-yard, par-4 18th, where Hagestad hit a gorgeous flop shot to 2 feet after leaving his approach in some nasty rough left of the green. Jackson's approach found the deep greenside bunker to the right of the green, and from there it was all he could do to just to get his next shot on the green -- 28 feet from the cup. His parr putt went 5 feet past, and he conceded Hagestad's par, and the match.
Now a New York City resident, because that's where his job as a financial analyst is, Hagestad is universally regarded as the best Mid-Amateur in the world, and his spot at No. 16 in the 20-something-dominated World Amateur Golf Rankings testifies to that. If he has a serious challenger, it's probably Evan Beck, 33. A former Wake Forest star who turned pro after college, Beck got his amateur status back, and has had quite a few impressive showings in big tournaments during the last couple of years, such as two consecutive runner-up finishes at the George L. Coleman Invitational at the iconic Seminole Golf Club.
And fittingly, it's Beck, No. 85 in the WAGRs, who is playing Hagestad in the Mid-Am final.. But things didn't go well for Beck on Thursday afternoon. The main problem him is that, except for his semifinal match against Jackson, Hagestad has been virtually unbeatable this week, and he looked that way once again in the first 18 holes against Beck.
There have been only two bogeys so far, both by Beck, and there have been eight birdies, six by Hagestad. He won the second hole with a par, tied Beck's birdie at the fourth and won the par-3 seventh and par-4 eighth with birdies to to 3 up. Beck won the ninth with a birdie, but Hagestad won the par-5 12th and par-4 13th with birdies, and got to 5 up when he won the 14th with a par.
U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship
At Stonewall's North Course
Par 71, 5,953 yards
Final results (the top 64 players qualify for match play)
T1. Courtney Dow 64-75--139
T1. Jessica Spicer 69-70--139
T1. Jackie Rogowicz 71-68--139
4. Taylor Ledwein 69-72--141
T5. Julia Potter-Bobb 70-72--142
T5. Lindsay Gahm 73-69--142
T5. Celine Manche 72-70--142
T5. Blakesly Brock 74-68--142\
Failed to advance (3-for-8 playoff at 154)
Emma Groom 80-76--156
Olivia Herrick 80-77--157
Round of 64
No. 64 Sarah Lebrun Ingram def. No. 1 Courtney Dow 3&2
No. 2 Jackie Rogowicz def. No. 63 Tara Joy-Connelly 5&4
No. 62 Katrin Wolfe def. No. 3 Jessica Spicer 19 holes
No. 61 Erin Houtsma def.. No. 4 Taylor Ledwein 20 holes
No. 5 Celine Manche def. No. 60 Martha Leach 2&1
No. 59 Lauren Gebauer def. No. 6 Lindsay Gahm 1 up
No. 7 Blakesly Brock def. No. 58 Brenda Corrie Kuehn 3&2
No. 57 Shannon Johnson def. No. 8 Julia Potter-Bobb 2&1
Round of 32
No. 33 Aideen Walsh def. No. 64 Ingram 1 up
No. 2 Rogowicz def. No. 34 Jacqueline Setas 5&3
No. 62 Wolfe def. No. 30 Alena Oppenheimer 5&4
No. 29 Isabella Dilisio def. No. 61 Houtsma 5&3
No. 5 Manche def. No. 37 Taylor Kay 4&2
No. 59 Gebauer def.. No. 38 Jessica Mangrobang 4&3
No. 7 Brock def. No. 39 Alyssa Burritt 3&2
No. 25 Alyssa Roland def. No. 57 Johnson 4&3
Round of 16
No. 16 Kimberly Dinh def. No. 33 Walsh 4&3
No. 2 Rogowicz def. No. 47 Catherine McEvoy 6&5
No. 14 Kelsey Chugg def. No. 62 Wolfe 1 up
No. 13 Judith Kyrinis def. No. 29 Dilisio 1 up
No. 12 Gretchen Johnson def. No. 5 Manche 1 up
No. 11 Taryn Walker def. No. 59 Gebauer 2&1
No. 10 Lauren Greenlief def. No. 7 Brock 4&2
No. 9 Alexandra Austin def. No. 25 Roland 1 up
No. 16 Dihn def. No. 9 Austin 3&2
No. 2 Rogowicz def. No. 10 Greenlief 3&2
No. 14 Chugg def. No. 11 Walker 1 up
No. 12 Gretchen Johnson def. No. 13 Kyrinis 4&2
No. 16 Dinh def. No. 12 Gretchen Johnson 4&3
No. 14 Chugg def. No. 2 Rogowicz 1 up
No. 16 Dihn. def. No. 14 Chugg 2 up
U.S. Mid-Amateur (Men's)
At Sleepy Hollow Country Club
Par 71, 6,850 yards
& at Fenway Golf Club
Par 70, 6,578 yards
Stroke play (the top 64 players advance to match play)
1. Jeronimo Esteve 67F-68SH--135
2. Scott Harvey 67F-69SH--136
T3. Sam Jones 68SH-69F--137
T3. Nate McCoy 69SH-68F--137
T3. Harry Bolton 70F-67SH--137
T3. Blair Hamm 69F-68SH--137
T16. Bryce Hanstad 73F-66SH--139
T43. Josh Persons 70SH-72F--142
Failed to advance (16-for-14 playoff at 144)
George Ordway 73SH-75F--148
Jesse Larson 72SH-76F--148
Ben Greve 73SH-76F--149
Sammy Schmitz 72F-77SH--149
Jesse Bull 75SH-79F--154
Match play (all matches are being played at Sleepy Hollow)
Round of 64
No. 1 Jeronimo Esteve def. No. 64 Paul Mitzel 3&2
No. 2 Scott Harvey def. No. 63 Trey Cassity 2&1
No. 3 Nate McCoy def. No. 62 Charles Soule 1 up
No. 4 Sam Jones def. No. 61 Conor O'Brian 3&2
No. 60 Brice Wilkinson def. No. 5 Blair Hamm 2&1
No. 59 Jason Bataille def. No. 6 Harry Bolton 2&1
No. 58 Keith Guest def. No. 7 Chris Devlin 20 holes
No. 57 Bobby Massa def. No. 8 Derek Smith 3&2
No. 17 Bryce Hanstad def. No. 48 Justin Bryant 2&1
No. 19 Mark Costanza def. No. 46 Josh Persons 1 up
Round of 32
No. 33 Brett Patterson def. No. 1 Esteve 5&4
No. 34 Joe Du Chateau def. No. 2 Harvey 2 up
No. 3 McCoy def. No. 30 Andy Sajevic 1 up
No. 4 Jones def. No,. 36 Daniel Wittlinger 3&2
No. 28 Evan. Beck def. No. 60 Wilkinson 3&1
No. 59 Bataille def. No. 38 Todd White 2&1
No. 26 Torey Edwards def. No. 58 Guest 1 up
No. 57 Massa def. No. 40 Bradford Tilley 2&1
No. 16 Nick Maccario def. No. 17 Hanstad 2 up
Round of 16
No. 33 Brett Patterson def. No. 16 Nick Maccario 1 up
No. 18 Sam Jackson def. No. 34 Du Chateau 3&1
No. 14 Stewart Hatestad def. No. 3 Nate McCoy 3&1
No. 4 Jones def. No. 13 Jack Schultz 6&5
No. 28 Beck def. No. 21 Joseph Deraney 5&4
No. 54 Parker Edens def. No. 59 Bataille 2&1
No. 23 Stephen Behr def. No. 26 Edwards 5&4
No. 57 Massa def. No. 334 Nate Smith 19 holes
No. 33 Patterson def. No. 57 Massa 2&1
No. 28 Beck def. No., No. 4 Jones
No. 18 Jackson def. No. 23 Behr 1 up
No. 14 Hagestad def. No. 54 Edens 2&1
No. 28 Beck def. No. 33 Patterson 2&1
No. 14 Hagestad def. No. 18 Jackson 1 up
No. 14 Hagestad 5 up against 28 Beck thru 18 holes