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Missed opportunity

Detroit Lakes, Minn., native and Fargo South graduate Kane Hanson lost his grueling battle for a spot in the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Wisconsin golfer Jonathan Turcott defeated Hanson on the third playoff hole of the day - and the ninth of the tournament - to earn the final spot at the sectional qualifier at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.

"I played well," said Hanson, who also missed a playoff by one stroke at a sectional qualifier last year. "He just beat me. ... It's not one of those things where you are upset it happened. I was a stroke away from Mark O'Meara, and he won The Masters 10 years ago. There were a lot of good golfers there, and I was right there with them."

Hanson, 26, shot 141 over 36 holes on Monday to force his way into a playoff with four other golfers for the last of six qualifying spots. He and Turcott lasted through six playoff holes on Monday before darkness halted play.

A regular on the Gateway Tour this year, Hanson endured an emotional roller coaster during the pressure-packed playoff.

"The pressure was indescribable," said Hanson, who earned $37,081 in 14 Gateway events this year. "I think my shoulders started to stiffen up. It was like being on the free throw line at the end of the game with the game on the line. That's what it was like for nine holes. If I hit a bad shot, I was done. It was the most pressure I ever felt."

Hanson said he thought for a moment that he had the playoff won when Turcott hit his tee shot into the woods on Tuesday's first hole.

It took several minutes to find Turcott's ball among the trees, Hanson said. Hanson drilled his tee shot onto the fairway.

After punching onto the fairway, Turcott hit a 9-iron to within an inch of the cup from 135 yards out to help him save par. Hanson said he was told Turcott's incredible shot lipped out of the cup.

"It was probably the best golf shot I've ever seen," Hanson said. "He knew I was in the middle of the fairway with a wedge in my hand."

Turcott carded a birdie on the third hole while Hanson finished with par to end the playoff.

Hanson could still make the U.S. Open as first alternate from the Conway Farms sectional. If one of the qualifiers can't make the tournament, Hanson will take that player's spot in the field.

Hanson said he will play an event in the Twin Cities this weekend before heading to Arizona for three Gateway Tour events. He will play a handful of Dakotas Tour events this summer.

The U.S. Open is scheduled for June 12-15 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif. "I'll be waiting for a phone call," Hanson said of his as a U.S. Open alternate. "I still have a chance to get in. It's a very slim chance, but it's still a chance."