Chase Hanna will join Kansas University’s golf team already having been crowned a champion, and by that we don’t mean he won the second flight of the city tournament. Nothing that big, but he did win the Kansas Amateur, a grinder of a challenge that only the strong survive.
By defeating Sam Stevens, who has one year of high school remaining in Wichita before going to golf powerhouse Oklahoma State, 5 and 3, in a 36-hole match Sunday, Hanna completed a summer Triple Crown of sorts and did it on his 19th birthday.
He already had won the Kansas Junior Amateur and the Missouri Junior Amateur.
Winning the Kansas Amateur requires winning six matches after two rounds of stroke play.
“That’s impressive,” KU golf coach Jamie Bermel said. “He’s been on a nice run. It seems like he’s getting more and more confident every week he plays.”
Hanna’s best day of golf over the summer came in the first round of the Western Junior Amateur at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis, where he shot a course-record 63.
Hanna started on the Shawnee Mission East basketball team, and he’s a big hitter, so his profile has a little something in common with former KU golfer and touring pro Gary Woodland, a two-time Kansas Amateur champion.
“Once I saw him play, I knew he was someone we wanted,” Bermel said of Hanna. “He’s a big kid. He hits it hard, and he’s real athletic. He’s a little raw because he played two sports. He looks like an athlete out there. He doesn’t do everything perfect, but he does a lot of things well.”
Now that Hanna is concentrating on one sport, Bermel predicts, “He’ll really, really progress.”
Hanna, from Leawood, comes from a strong KU family, but that alone wasn’t going to sell him on staying close to home to play his college golf. He said he heard “nothing but good things” about Bermel and liked his straight-forward personality when he met him. Meeting the coach sealed the deal for the exciting talent.
It bodes well for Hanna’s future that he could withstand the grind of the Kansas Amateur against such an experienced field and move right onto his next pressure-packed event. One day after his latest big victory at Indian Hills Country Club, he fired a 68 at Shoal Creek in the U.S. Amateur qualifier, good for second place. His second round was rained out, and he is scheduled to tee it up at 11:30 a.m. today. If he can hold onto his second-place standing, he’ll qualify to compete in the U.S. Amateur (Aug. 12-18 in Brookline, Mass.)
“I’ll keep grinding for one more day,” he said.
Hanna mashes the ball, he can grind, and he’s not even close to a finished product. His will be an exciting four-year career to follow at KU.