Chasing Sunset: US Mid-Am Round of 64 Interrupted by Darkness

Chad Wilfong watches his second shot on hole 17 (Steven Gibbons/USGA)

To some degree, the 41st U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship has turned into a race against the fading daylight. With Sunday’s storm and the loss of nearly half a day on Monday due to course cleanup, the 25-and-over national championship is now playing catch-up.

On Tuesday, the weather-delayed Round 2 ended at noon CDT at Erin Hills and co-host of Blue Mound Golf & Country Club stroke play, with the cut for the par-144 3-way match play. Two hours later, the first game of the round of 64 began at Erin Hills, while the 17-on-12 playoff for the final spots in the draw began at No. 10 at 1:30 p.m.

Golf was suspended due to darkness at 6:55 p.m. with six players through to the round of 16 and 26 games undecided. Four games have not started, including those featuring co-medalists Jake Shuman of Boston, Mass., and Sam Jones of New Zealand.

The Round of 64 resumes at 7:15 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

But it was a good day for the Paysse family in Wisconsin. Andrew Paysse, of Temple, Texas, the brother-in-law of world No. 1 and 2021-22 PGA Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler, knocked out 2021 U.S. mid-amateur semifinalist Hey, of Charlotte, North Carolina North, 1 spot. About an hour west of Erin Hills, Paysse’s younger brother, William Paysse, won his second college tournament, the rain-shortened Badger Invitational at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona, just outside of Madison. William finished tied for first with a total of 135 under 9 to help Texas A&M, which includes 2022 USA Amateur Champion Sam Bennett, claim the tag team title by 11 strokes over host Wisconsin.

“It’s so cool,” said Paysse, who has his wife on his bag. “Just being at an hour and a half, playing at the same time, it’s pretty crazy. I’m so proud of him… He’s playing really good golf right now. This [championship] is just for fun [for me]. What he does is more important.

Paysse, also a former Texas A&M golfer, thought he might end his match on the par-3 16th when he stuffed his tee shot to give me a reach. But Brown coolly rolled in his birdie putt to hold at 2, and when Paysse carelessly three-shot the No. 17, the game went to the par-5 18th. Paysse’s birdie from 15 feet stopped just inches from the hole and after Brown failed to make his fourth shot from the fringe, it was over.

Thomas McCarthy of New York, NY broke the hearts of Wisconsin golf fans by playing the equivalent of a 1-under-par golf course to defeat the state’s last prospect, Jack Schultz of Milwaukee, 7 and 6. McCarthy took paternity leave from his investment banking job in Manhattan this summer for posting several strong results at Metropolitan Golf Association events. He lost in extra holes to 2021 US Mid-Amateur runner-up Mark Costanza in the Met Amateur Quarter-Finals and he was the Met Stroke Play Championship runner-up called ‘the Ike at Baltusrol Golf Club.

A member of the Seth Raynor-designed Essex County Country Club in West Orange, NJ, McCarthy felt at home at Blue Mound during stroke play, where he posted a 4-under 66 to help him enter the draw coin toss after a 75 in Erin Hills.

Recent Arizona State graduate James Leow of Singapore beat John Humpries of Woodworth, Louisiana by the same margin. Leow, 25, started his college career late as he served nearly two years in the military, which is compulsory for all men in Singapore. He didn’t come to Tempe until he was 21, and he missed his junior season at ASU due to labrum surgery.

None of the competitors who completed Round 2 of stroke play on Tuesday could match the 7-under-134 totals posted Monday by co-medalists Jones and Shuman.

They were one stroke ahead of Dalton Melnyk, of Atlanta, Georgia, who hit a par 70 at Blue Mound on Tuesday to earn the No. 3 seed. Andrew Bailey, of Cleveland, Ohio, and Hugh Foley, from the Republic of Ireland, were two back. Bailey shot a 4-under 66 at Blue Mound.

First-round leader and defending champion Stewart Hagestad of Newport Beach, Calif., shot a 4-for-75 at Erin Hills to finish at 2-under 139 and is the No. 14 seed.

And after

Round of 16 matches are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. CDT, with the round of 16 and quarterfinals scheduled for Thursday. The semi-finals and the first 18 holes of the 36-hole championship match are scheduled for Friday, with the second 18 of the final being played on Saturday morning.

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ABOUT American mid-amateur

The American Mid-Amateur originated in 1981 for the amateur golfer 25 years of age or older, with the goal of providing a formal national championship for the post-college player. 264 players start the championship with two part-sroke qualifying rounds that take place over two courses, after which the lowest 64 players (with a playoff if necessary to get the exact number) advance to single-elimination match play.

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