JUPITER, Fla. — Bryan Haase can relate to how Stephen Anderson, Gary Nicklaus and Garrett Green were feeling on Sept. 5.
A few months earlier, Haase was the odd man out among a trio of players fighting for the final two spots in a U.S. Public Links qualifier. But this time it was Haase who emerged out of a four-man playoff to earn a trip to the upcoming U.S. Mid-Amateur.
Haase had to fend off his competitors over three playoff holes, ultimately carding a birdie on the final hole at the North Palm Beach Country Club to earn his spot for the Mid-Amateur, which takes place at the Country Club of Birmingham, starting on Oct. 5.
“You’ve just got to play good in those qualifiers and let the cards fall where they fall,” said Haase, a 2002 TC West graduate, who now lives in Florida. “I didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure. I kind of thought I was the underdog and played with a chip on my shoulder. It happened to work out.”
R.J. Nakashian shot a 69 to win the qualifier, while T.J. Shuart and Robbie Wight finished with 71s as all three advanced to the amateur tournament. That left one opening for the next four, who all had 72s. On the first playoff hole Green was eliminated after the other three recorded pars. Nicklaus, the son of PGA legend Jack Nicklaus, hit into the lake on the next hole — a par 3 — while Haase and Anderson two-putted to keep their hopes alive. On the next hole Haase edged Anderson by one stroke to punch his ticket.
“Obviously excited,” Haase said. “I’ve never gone to it before. It should be an exciting experience. I went out for it a few times and never made it. A couple of my good buddies made it last year and they said it was great. You get taken care of real well. Good food, nice golf and camaraderie. I’m looking forward to it, getting to experience that.”