Erik Hanson of Kirkland, Wash. shot a 3-under par 67 today to earn Medalist honors in qualifying for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Kenny Ebalo of Las Vegas, Nev. finished one stroke behind Hanson to earn this qualifier’s second available spot into the championship. The qualifier was held at the RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood, Wash.
Both players advance to the 33rd U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, which will be held Oct 5-10 at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.).
Play finally began this morning after a long weather delay, but it didn’t bother Hanson, who played a solid round consisting of four birdies and one bogey. Hanson is a former pitcher for MLB’s Seattle Mariners. He is a previous Northwest Open champion, and has now qualified for eight USGA championships.
Playing in the second to last group of the day, Ebalo was able to post a number that vaulted him into second place and earned a ticket to the championship proper. He blistered the back nine, shooting a 4-under par 31 that included birdies on holes 17 and 18 to claim the second spot by a single stroke.
Ebalo grew up in Las Vegas and played college golf at Southern Utah University, becoming the first SUU player to compete in an NCAA Regional. He is now PGA Tour pro Ryan Moore’s manager. It is Moore’s company – Ryan Moore Golf (RMG) – that owns the RMG Club at Oakbrook, site of today’s qualifier.
Tyler Matthews of Bellevue, Wash. defeated Michael Haack, also of Bellevue, on the second playoff hole to earn first alternate.
This year marks the 33rd U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Entries for the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur were open to players who have reached their 25th birthday by Saturday, October 5, 2013, and who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 3.4. The championship proper consists of 36 holes of stroke play qualifying, held on October 5-6, to determine the 64 players who will then compete in single elimination match play to determine the champion. Champions of this event earn an invitation to the Masters.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) is the local representative of the USGA and conducted this qualifier for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.