Hanstad, a former Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship winner from 2007, shot a medalist round of 67 in a section qualifier for the MGA Amateur Championship on Monday. That left him two strokes lower than second-place finisher Cole Jahnke in a field of more than 65 players at the Highland National Golf Course in St. Paul.
“It was nice to have a pretty stress-free round for the most part,” Hanstad said. “I put myself in good position off the tee pretty much the entire round. Didn’t really get into any trouble, no penalty shots or anything like that. Driving it well off the tee on a relatively short golf course enabled me to come into the greens with some pretty lofted wedges. I think I hit 17 greens.”
Hanstad was steady every step of the way on his way to shooting 5-under par, and he did it in the face of strong winds that have stuck around for days now. Hanstad was back in Alexandria this past weekend where he played in the wind, and he then got in a practice round at Highland National on Sunday back in the Twin Cities.
“It was tough conditions, but the wind was pretty much exactly the same as it was on Monday,” Hanstad said. “That helped out for clubbing and things like that on some of the par threes.”
Hanstad started his qualifying round on the 10th tee box, and it could not have gone much better on the back. He carded an eagle on the par-five 10th and birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 put him 4-under after five holes.
“For me, it puts me in a pretty comfortable, at-ease position,” Hanstad said of his opening eagle on No. 10. “In those qualifiers, the last thing you want to be doing is pressing and needing to make a bunch of birdies late in the round. That can quickly go sideways, and go the other way where you start making bogies because of it.”
Hanstad’s only bogey came on the par-three 16th. He closed his first nine with pars on 17 and 18 before two more birdies on the par-three fourth and the par-five sixth hole let him cruise to the win with three more pars to close out the round.
“It’s pretty satisfying knowing that my game is still there, and I can still compete at a relatively high level periodically, knowing that a lot of my life circumstances have changed,” Hanstad said. “I’m not playing and practicing every single day of the week. It’s not my job like it was when I played professionally for a year and a half. To have other commitments in my life, it’s still exciting (to win).”
At 32 years old, Hanstad does not get to play competitively nearly as much as he used to with work and family life keeping him busy. He won the MGA Amateur Championship as a 20-year-old in 2007 when the tournament was played at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska.
Hanstad played in the MGA Amateur championship the next two summers, but he hasn’t been back in the field since 2009. More than a decade later, he’s excited to see how his game holds up against a new wave of golfers when they meet for the 2020 MGA Amateur Championship July 13-15 at the Edina Country Club just up the road from his house.
Bryce Hanstad won the 2007 MGA Amateur Championship as a 20-year-old collegiate golfer for Colorado State University. He will try to win his second one July 13-15 when the tournament is played at the Edina Country Club. (Photo by Mark Brettingen/Courtesy MGA)
“It’s funny looking through the rosters of some of the qualifiers, and it’s just such a different generation of golfers,” Hanstad said. “I look at the list, and I don’t recognize a lot of guys anymore. I think there are parts of my game where I can still compete. It’s just sort of making sure I put in the proper preparation and time.
“I’d love to go out and compete for that championship, but it will just be exciting to get out there and play it again.”