Hahn focused on fans, Walker Cup at U.S. Am
Shortly after defeating Beau Hossler, 2 up, in the Round of 32, John Hahn did something different. Yes, he shook hands with his opponent, but it was what he did afterward that made it even better. Before taking pictures with fans or talking with the media, Hahn jumped over the ropes by the 18th green to catch up with certain individuals.
The recent Kent State grad was carrying nine golf balls, all of which were autographed. After a grueling match that went to 18 holes, Hahn started handing out the balls to every kid he could find. “I just like to thank the fans for coming out and watching,” Hahn said. “I saw Dean Wilson do it at a Tour event on television and thought it was a great idea.”
This summer hasn’t gone the way Hahn envisioned. At the NCAA finals at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., he envisioned having a picture-perfect summer to plant himself on the Walker Cup team. That hasn’t happened. Hahn says he had a terrible June and July, and got so frustrated that he went back home to Las Vegas to get some pointers from his father. While at the Northeast Amateur, his friend and fellow Walker Cup hopeful Blayne Barber advised him just to simplify things.
To Hahn, this week isn’t about a trip to Augusta National or a tee time with Rory McIlroy at next year’s U.S. Open. Instead, it’s about earning his way to Scotland to represent the U.S. in the Walker Cup. “I don’t want to win the U.S. Amateur to win the U.S. Amateur,” Hahn said. “I want to win the U.S. Amateur to be on the Walker Cup.”
Hahn knows his only chance of making the team is to win this week, and he’s OK with that. In the meantime, he is enjoying every swing he takes with his father on the bag who’s along for the ride. In the Round of 16, Hahn will have a taste of the Walker Cup. His opponent will be GB&I member Jack Senior, who defeated Justin Thomas, 4 and 3, earlier in the day.
“I’m so patriotic I want to win one for U.S.A. tomorrow,” Hahn said. “I look at it as a practice match for the Walker Cup, I want to be on that team so bad.” The finals still are a long way away, but if Hahn were to defeat a member from GB&I that would certainly go noticed.
Hahn knows he has to win out to be on the team. Tomorrow, he’ll try to keep the dream alive.