Hanstad, Persons Both Work OT, Win U.S. Mid-Am Quarterfinal Matches
September 15, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle
ERIN, Wis. -- Bryce Hanstad proved long ago that he could handle a Big Boy golf course. In 2007, he won the Minnesota State Amateur at Hazeltine National. The course, which has served as host to two U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, a Ryder Cup and a U.S. Amateur, was playing over 7,000 yards, and scoring was made even more difficult that week by firm greens and gusty winds.
Under those conditions, his winning score of 217 for 54 holes was really impressive. It was four better than the second-place total posted by Clayton Rask, the longest hitter among Minnesota's elite amateurs -- or pros -- at that time, and no one else came within eight shots of Hanstad. The 217 was also seven better than the winning score by nine-time MGA Player of the Year John Harris in 1987, the only other time the State Am was played at Hazeltine after the switch from match play to stroke play in 1967. (Harris would go on to win the U.S. Amateur in 1993.)
Hanstad's aptitude for playing long courses has come in handy this week during the U.S. Mid-Amateur. It is being contested at Erin Hills, which is listed as 7,309 yards, although the actual yardage can vary more than 100 yards, depending on tee and pin placements. During the stroke-play qualifying portion of the tournament, he played the last 10 holes at Erin Hills in 2 under, and that moved him up from a massive tie for the last spots in match play (there was a 17-for-12 playoff) into a tie for 28th place.
As the No. 32 seed, he was on a collision course with the No. 1 seed, Jake Shuman, in the second round. Hanstad upset the top seed, 1 up on Wednesday. He then took on the No. 48 seed, Ryan Greer, in the first of the two scheduled rounds of matches on Thursday morning. Hanstad made X on the first hole and went 2 down when he lost the 455-yard, par-4 fourth hole with a bogey. But he turned the match around, completely, by winning the next four holes in a row, concluding that spree with a birdie at the 448-yard, par-4 eighth.
After tying the ninth (131 yards, par 3) with a bogey and the 10th (454, par 4) with a par, the 2022 MGA Mid-Players champion won the 415-yard, par-4 11th and 447-yard, par-4 12th with birdies, and the 223-yard, par-3 13th with a par. He and Greer both parred the 14th, and Hanstad had a 5&4 victory.
His afternoon match against No. 40 Andrew Paysse wasn't nearly as easy. A par at the first hole and a birdie at the third (435 yards, par 4) had Hanstad 2 uthis Paysse countered by winning the par-3 sixth with a par, the par-5 seventh with a birdie, and he went 1 up when he won the par-3 ninth with a birdie. There was a lot of trading of holes on the back nine, and Paysse went 1 up by winning the 176-yard, par-3 16th with a par. But Hanstad won the 17th with a par, and the 35-year-old former Alexandria High School hockey star won in match in overtime with a par on the 496-yard first extra hole.
In the semifinals on Friday, Hanstad will face No. 5 Hugh Foley. He defeated Chad Wilfong 2 up in their quarterfinal. Foley was 1 down with seven holes to go, but he won the next three in a row. Wilfong eagled the 303-yard, par-4 15th, but Foley won the par-3 16th with a birdie, and after Wilfong won the 17th with a par, Foley sealed victory by winning the par-5 18th with a par.
Hanstad's ambush of No. 1 Shuman was the feature match on Wednesday. On Thursday, it was No. 35 Josh Person's 1-up victory over the defending champion and No. 14 seed, Stewart Hagestad, in the Round of 16. Persons, who won North Dakota state high school championships in both basketball and golf, and Hagestad traded holes on the front nine, which ended with Persons 1 up. But Hagestad won the 10th with a birdie to square the match.
Persons won the 12th with a birdie and went 2 up with a par at the par-3 12th -- and then went bogey-double on the 14th and 15th holes. So it was even going to the 16th. It was still even going to the 18th, and Persons won it with a par.
Having beaten the defending champion in the morning, Persons, 38, beat another former Mid-Am champ Thursday afternoon -- Scott Harvey (2014). This time, Persons, who spent eight years as a professional before getting reinstated as an amateur, needed 21 holes to finish the job. The former University of Minnesota star needed a little luck to survive this one. After leveling the match by winning the long, par-4 (488 yards) with a par, he bogeyed the par-5 18th -- but so did Harvey.
After halving the first two bonus holes with pars, Persons settled the matter with a birdie at the third (484 yards, par 4).
So he will get No. 7 Matthew McClean in the other Friday morning semifinal. McClean and No. 34 Scott Turner won two of the first four holes each, and then parred five holes in a row, before McClean won the 11th and 12 holes with birdies. Then they halved another five holes in a row, and McClean had a 2&1 conquest.
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
Round of 16
(32) Hanstad def. (48) Greer 5&4
(40) Paysse def. (9) Davis 1 up
(13) Chad Wilfong def. (4) Andrew Bailey 2&1
(5) Foley def. (12) Ryan Gutowski 5&3
(34) Turner def. (15) James Leow 4&3
(7) McClean def. (10) Nurski 20 holes
(35) Persons def. (14) Hagestad 1 up
(38) Scott Harvey def. (11) Mark Costanza 3&2
(32) Hanstad def. (40) Paysse 19 holes
(5) Foley def. (13) Wilfong 2 up
(7) McClean def. (34) Turner 2&1
(35) Persons def. (38) Harvey 21 holes