Hanson qualifies for U.S. Am, will not defend P-P title
There are very few things which would have prevented Frazee’s Beau Hanson from trying to defend his 2012 Pine to Palm championship, and one of them happened July 29 at the Fargo Country Club.
Shooting a one-under par 143 in two rounds of play, Hanson won the qualifying tournament and earned a berth in his first U.S. Amateur Championship Tournament.
Hanson now advances to the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Aug. 12-18.
“I’d love to defend my (Pine to Palm) title, but qualifying for the U.S. Am is a big thing for me,” Hanson said. “It’s my biggest accomplishment, yet.”
Hanson’s qualifying rounds included playing the same front nine at the Fargo Country Club four times during the July 29 rounds, since the back nine was not in good enough shape to play.
A slow start, which included four bogeys and two birdies on his first nine, was overcome after he was able to settle in and tie for the lead after the first 18 holes.
“I thought I was going to shoot 90 after the first two holes, where I even topped a ball,” Hanson said. “But then I got into a groove and settled down.”
Hanson will still play his qualifying rounds at the Pine to Palm, with the goal of still being able to medal. But he will forego any match play if he qualifies.
“I don’t want to take a spot away from anyone, so I just want to go out and try to medal,” the Frazee golfer said.
Hanson won the 2012 title after beating the University of Minnesota’s David Haley Jr. 4 and 3, thus earning him a free berth into the 81st Pine to Palm Golf Tournament, which starts Monday, Aug. 5, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 11.
The U.S. Am starts Monday, Aug. 12, which is one day after the Pine to Palm finals.
The Frazee native played for the Odessa (Texas) College men’s golf team, which had a dominating season and finished as NJCAA National runner-up.
The Wrangler men’s golf team won their regional tournament, the Texas State championship, the District II title and the WJCAC banner.
Hanson was a regular starter for the Odessa squad, which enabled him to log in the most golf rounds of his career in that amount of time.
“At first, I was just trying to get better and make the team,” Hanson said. “My game has improved a lot and I was able to play as a starter on the team for most of the season.”
The competition Han-son played against was the best he’s faced, so being consistent in each and every tournament was vital.
“Any one team has a chance to win every tournament,” Hanson said. “Everyone is so consistent on that level. There’s a lot more pressure to produce.”
The Texas courses are also longer than Hanson was used to playing in Minnesota, so his length has increased.
His putting also had to be more accurate, since the courses in Texas are much harder and the greens much faster.
“Most of the fairways here are not tight, but longer,” Hanson said. “My long game is much better and I improved my short game, as well.”
Hanson’s approach last year during the Pine to Palm was to be confident and aggressive.
His goal was to make as many birdies as possible and put the pressure on his opponents.
It worked to perfection and continued through to the finals against Haley, as Hanson birdied the first two holes in the championship match to gain the early edge.
He will take a similar approach at the U.S. Am and use his practice rounds as a serious tool.
“My ultimate goal is to win it all,” Hanson said. “But the first step is to qualify for match play. I’ve proven I am pretty good in match play, so I will need to develop a game plan during the practice rounds.”
Field to be deep as ever
Much like last year, this year’s Championship field will feature some top young golfers, coming from Division I and II colleges from all over the U.S.
There will be nine of the 11 U of M Gopher golfers competing, according to head coach John Carlson, while there will be plenty of other college colored golfbags scattered around the course during the Pine to Palm week.
“It’s going to be another strong field in all the divisions,” said first-year Pine to Palm committee chairman Jim Bruflodt. “We have been around 470 to 480 golfers for the last few years and should be around that number again.”
Other division champions expected back to defend their titles include Mid-Am’s A.J. Greff, Seniors champion Scott Linnerooth and Super Seniors’ Chuck Renner.
Jake Miller was the 2012 Flight Medalist, as well.
Bruflodt also assures the field the greens which were affected by the rough winter will be more than ready to take on the wear and tear of Pine to Palm week. “The committee purchased a new seeder for the greens and that should be a big improvement, I see the greens being more than ready by the time the tournament rolls around,” the new chairman said.
Otherwise, the tournament will have the same tradition and feel to it, something which has been felt 81 years ago.
The tradition continues starting Monday, Aug. 5.