U.S. MID-AMATEUR
Round of 32: Five Matches to Watch September 13, 2016 | Elverson, Pa. By David Shefter, USGA

Stewart Hagestad's strong summer on the amateur golf circuit has carried the native Californian into the final 32 at Stonewall. (USGA/Chris Keane)

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The opening round of match play in the 36th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall figured to have plenty of drama and it did. All three co-medalists were challenged and 13 matches went the distance, with four going extra holes. Tuesday is the first of two consecutive double-round days; each competitor’s goal is to win twice and reach the quarterfinals, which earns an exemption into the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur at the Capital City Club in Atlanta.

Here are five Round-of-32 matches to watch on Tuesday morning:

Derek Busby, Ruston, La., vs. Brian Quackenbush, Aiken, S.C.
Nobody was more impressive in the Round of 64 in terms of margin of victory than Busby, a 32-year-old who just regained his amateur status on July 14. After posting 1-under 139 during stroke play, Busby handed Antonio Grillo a 7-and-6 setback in the Round of 64. . Busby is competing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur and just his second USGA championship. Quackenbush, 45, also regained his amateur status four years ago. Before his brief professional career, Quackenbush played at the University of Virginia and won the 2002 Northeast Amateur. A data integration specialist, Quackenbush is competing in his fifth USGA championship and first U.S. Mid-Amateur. His wife, Shawna, is an accomplished dressage rider who has represented the United States in two World Cups (2011 and 2012).

Joe Alfieri, Lutz, Fla., vs. Michael McDermott, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Only two golfers managed to better par in Round 2 of stroke play on Sunday and Alfieri was the only one to do so on the Old Course, shooting a 2-under 68 to garner the No. 13 seed for match play. Alfieri, 47, is a reinstated amateur (2011) who was the Florida State Golf Association’s Player of the Year in 1999, 2001 and 2015. He also played on the Nationwide (now Web.com) Tour from 2005-07. For McDermott, 41, this will be a revenge match from the Round of 64 in 2013 when Alfieri prevailed, 3 and 2, at the Country Club of Birmingham. McDermott, a three-time Philadelphia Amateur champion who holds the competitive course record on the Old Course (67), is one of three local golfers remaining in the championship. The wealth-management advisor is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University. 

Stewart Hagestad, Newport Beach, Calif., vs. Jim Coleman, Billings, Mont.
Hagestad, 25, is making the most of his first year of U.S. Mid-Amateur eligibility. The financial analyst, who moved to New York after playing for the University of Southern California, advanced following a 5-and-3 victory over Andrew Price. Earlier this summer, Hagestad won the Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur at the Country Club of Fairfield in Connecticut. He is coming off his sixth U.S. Amateur appearance, where failed to advance out of a playoff at Oakland Hills Country Club for the final match-play spots. Coleman’s passion for golf can be found by looking at the name of his three boys: Pavin (10), Palmer (8) and Payne (2). The 42-year-old reinstated amateur (2011), who works in oil and gas exploration, is making his second U.S. Mid-Amateur appearance. He was equally impressive in the Round of 64, defeating Nic Daugherty, 6 and 4.

Dan Sullivan, Pasadena, Calif., vs. Cameron Tennant, Woodland Hills, Calif.
These two Southern Californians could have traveled down the Ventura Freeway and played the match at Griffith or Balboa Park. Sullivan, who advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur, is competing in his ninth USGA championship. The 49-year-old real estate lender graduated from the University of Southern California in 1989. Tennant, 26, walked on the San Diego State University golf team after thinking he couldn’t play college golf. In his first nine holes, he beat everyone on the team. When Coach Ryan Donovan asked him to return the next day, he shot a 71 and earned a spot on a team that would qualify for the NCAA Championship in 2013 and lose to top-ranked California. This is his first USGA championship.

Jess Daley, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., vs. Brad Nurski, St. Joseph, Mo.
These are two players who have enjoyed recent success in the Mid-Amateur. The left-handed Nurski, 37, advanced to the 36-hole final two years ago at Saucon Valley Country Club before losing to Scott Harvey. Daley, 38, reached the quarterfinals last year before losing to Brad Wilder. Nurski, a reinstated amateur who works as a railroad conductor/switchman, also advanced to the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Amateur. Daley, a former college teammate of PGA Tour player Luke Donald at Northwestern, also briefly played on the Nationwide and PGA Tours before retiring from professional golf due to back issues. Last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur was his first USGA championship since the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills Country Club.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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