The 41st U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship has turned into a race against the sun. Given Sunday’s washout and the loss of nearly half a day on Monday due to course cleanup from the storm that dropped 4 inches of rain at Erin Hills and 5.3 inches at stroke-play co-host Blue Mound Golf & Country Club, the national championship for golfers 25 and older is now all about a battle with daylight, and opponents.
On Tuesday, the weather-delayed second round was completed in the Noon hour CDT with the cut for match play coming at 3-over-par 144. Two hours later, the first Round-of-64 match went off the first tee at Erin Hills, while the 17-for-12 playoff for the final spots in the draw commenced on No. 10 at 1:30 p.m.
By day’s end – golf was suspended due to darkness at 6:55 p.m. – six players had advanced to the Round of 32, with 26 matches still undecided. Three matches did not start, including two involving the co-medalists: Jake Shuman, of Boston, Mass., and Sam Jones, of New Zealand.
The Round of 64 will resume at 7:15 a.m. CDT on 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, eliminated 2021 semifinalist Hayes Brown, of Charlotte, N.C., 1 up. Sixty-seven miles west of Erin Hills, Paysse’s younger brother, William, claimed his second college tournament at the rain-shortened Badger Invitational at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona, just on the outskirts of Madison. William tied for first with a 8-under total of 135, while helping Texas A&M, which includes 2022 U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett, capture the team title by 11 strokes over host Wisconsin.
“That’s so cool,” said Paysse, who has his wife, Callie (Scheffler) Paysse on his bag. “Just to be an hour and a half away, 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 gimme range. But Brown coolly rolled in his birdie putt to keep himself 2 down, and when Paysse sloppily three-putted No. 17 to lose the hole, the match went to the par-5 18th. Paysse’s birdie from 15 feet stopped inches from the hole and after Brown failed to chip in his fourth shot from the fringe, hats came off and handshakes given.
Thomas McCarthy, of New York, N.Y., broke the hearts of Wisconsin golf fans when he played the equivalent of 1-under-par golf (with concessions) in defeating the last remaining resident in the field, Jack Schultz, of Milwaukee, 7 and 6. This summer, McCarthy has taken advantage of being on paternity leave from his investment-banking job in Manhattan with several strong finishes in Metropolitan Golf Association events. He lost in extra holes to 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up Mark Costanza in the quarterfinals of the Met Amateur and he was the runner-up in the Met Stroke Play Championship (Ike) at Baltusrol Golf Club.
A member at the Seth Raynor-designed Essex County Country Club in West Orange, N.J., had McCarthy feeling quite at home at Blue Mound during stroke play, where he posted a 4-under 66 to help him get into the draw after a 75 at Erin Hills.
Recent Arizona State graduate James Leow, of Singapore, also defeated John Humphries, of Woodworth, La., by the same margin. The 25-year-old Leow got a late start to his college career because he served nearly two years in the military, mandatory for all males once they turn 18. He didn’t arrive in Tempe until he turned 21, and he missed his junior season at ASU due to labrum surgery.
Because of the weather delays, the stroke-play portion of the championship did not end until around Noon on Tuesday. But none of the competitors who had to finish Round 2 on Tuesday could match the 7-under 134 totals posted by co-medalists Jones and Shuman, who finished stroke play on Monday at Erin Hills and Blue Mound, respectively.
They were one stroke ahead of Dalton Melnyk, of Atlanta, Ga., who carded an even-par 70 at Blue Mound on Tuesday. Andrew Bailey, of Cleveland, Ohio, and Hugh Foley, of the Republic of Ireland, were two back. Bailey fired a 4-under 66 at Blue Mound.
First-round leader and defending champion Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, Calif., shot a 4-over 75 at Erin Hills to finish at 2-under 139.
Round-of-32 matches are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CDT, with the Round of 16 and quarterfinals set for Thursday. The semifinals and the first 18 holes of the 36-hole championship match are scheduled for Friday, with the second 18 of the final being contested on Saturday morning.
“I’ve been playing well this summer. I would have been disappointed if I didn’t get to match play. Match play is kind of a crapshoot. I have probably met my expectations now. It’s just a joy to be here.” – Thomas McCarthy after his Round-of-64 win over Jack Schultz
“It was better news when we were playing [Saturday] out here [at Erin Hills] when we found out that A&M football lost [to Appalachian State]. Definitely, the two sides of the spectrum.” – Andrew Paysse when he was told his younger brother won the Badger Invitational on Tuesday
“It was a goal. I’ve been playing well. I did want to make match play one more time.” – 2013 champion and 2023 USA Walker Cup captain Michael McCoy on qualifying for match play as the oldest player in the field (59 years of age)
“Great. It was four days for the two rounds and some uncomfortable waits, but I am glad to get it done.” – Hugh Foley after finishing 5-under 136 in stroke play
“I don’t play much golf at all. But now working [as a McDonald’s franchise owner] and having a 3-month-old, I have no time for golf anymore…I’m fortunate that one of our restaurants is right near the course, so I go to work, then go hit a few balls [on my break] and then go back to work.” – Jeff Hamm (even-par 141), the last player in the field who arrived just in time to start the championship on Saturday
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brian DePasquale, a senior manager of championship communications, also contributed.