Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley and Malone’s Matt McClean will be battling for dream starts in the US Open and the Masters after they qualified for the final of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in Wisconsin this afternoon.
The first 18 holes of the 36-hole final will be played this evening with the second 18 set for tomorrow morning after the championship was disrupted by heavy rain. The final was originally scheduled yesterday.
Foley the reining North and South of Ireland Champion beat Minnesota’s Bryce Hanstad 3&2 while McClean beat North Dakota’s Josh Persons by the same margin in the semi-finals at Erin Hills.
“Insane,” said Foley, whose excellent putting made the difference. “We’ve been planning this for months and like didn’t know what the standard would be like. We heard Stewart Hagestad, No. 7 in the world, we were like, I don’t know, will we make the cut, you know? You’re travelling all that way and hoping you don’t miss the cut.
“It’s just been unbelievable. Me and Matt have spent every second of the trip together. We flew over together and stayed with Greg Zieman there, came in to watch, and then we stayed with Dan for the last few days, so we’re sharing a house.
“It’s going to be weird. We’ve played each other a few times. We had great matches. I know how good a player he is. 36 holes, going to be weird but fun.”
Foley recently got the better of McClean in the semi-finals of the AIG Irish Amateur Close at Headfort last month before eventually losing to Quentin Carew in the final.
But McClean will have a chance of some revenge in the 36-hole final with spots in the Masters at Augusta National and the US Open at The Los Angeles Country Club on the line for the winner.
A victory by either McClean or Foley secures a spot in next year’s U.S. Open at The LA Country Club and a likely invitation up Magnolia Lane to compete in next year’s Masters Tournament.
The first 18 holes of the 36-hole final will start at 1830 Irish time this evening with the second 18 set for 7 am local time (1300 Irish time) tomorrow.