Hagestad captures third U.S. Mid-Am, another Masters berth

Hagestad captures third U.S. Mid-Am, another Masters berth
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Nathan Smith.

Jay Sigel.

Stewart Hagestad.

That’s it. That’s the list of players who have won at least three U.S. Mid-Amateur titles. Hagestad, the 33-year-old from Newport Beach, California, drew even with Sigel at three U.S. Mid-Am titles apiece with his 3-and-2 victory Friday morning over Evan Beck in the scheduled 36-hole final at Sleepy Hollow.

Smith’s four U.S. Mid-Am victories paces this championship, which dates to 1981.

“I’ve been like teetering on crying since we got done,” Hagestad said. “I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say. … It’s anything beyond what I would have ever dreamed of, right? When you’re a kid, you dream of playing in USGA events. I still remember my first one in 2008, and just the lights were so bright and the course was so long and the course was so hard, and to sit here and to look back and say that I’ve won three USGA championships, I mean, that’s unbelievable. There’s so many amazing players, and to even be able to compete in one, let alone to go the distance and win, it’s a week that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Hagestad was fresh off a fourth Walker Cup – fourth victorious Walker Cup for that matter – when he arrived in Scarborough, New York, not far from where Hagestad currently works as a financial analyst for BDT & MDS Capital Partners in Manhattan. Hagestad had already won U.S. Mid-Ams in 2016 and 2021, and he followed the maiden victory by earning low-amateur honors at the Masters that following spring.

After shooting 2 under and tying for seventh in stroke play, Hagestad survived a tough road to the final, having to knock off Matt Van Zandt, Mark Costanza, Nate McCoy, Parker Edens, Sam Jackson and Beck, the 33-year-old from Virginia Beach, Virginia, whose No. 85 standing in the World Amateur Golf Ranking trails, at least in mid-am circles, only Hagestad’s No. 16 world rank.

“Evan is such a good player,” Hagestad. “I know that he’s one of the best in the world. He’s got a ton of horsepower, and I saw some of his matches, and I kind of had a feeling it might come down to the two of us.”

Hagestad led 5 up after the first 18 holes against Beck as he posted 7 under and lost just one hole before play was pushed another day because of weather earlier in the week. “My first thought this morning was, hey, let’s go get it, instead of let’s steer the ship in or let’s do our best and hope he gives you a couple holes,” Hagestad said. On Friday morning, Hagestad stretched his advantage to 7 up after 21 holes before Beck clawed back, though eventually losing on Sleepy Hollow’s iconic par-3 16th hole.

“I’m not surprised that he made a good run,” Hagestad added, “and luckily I was able to fend him off.”

En route to a third U.S. Mid-Am title, Hagestad shot 31 under in 118 holes of match play with just five bogeys and a double.

And as the champ yet again, Hagestad receives an exemption into next summer’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, where he played his first of what is now 29 USGA championships at the 2008 U.S. Amateur, and a likely invitation to the Masters.

“When I got the invitation for the 2022 Masters, I got it and immediately broke down in tears,” Hagestad said.

Even for someone as accomplished as Hagestad is in the amateur game, the third invite likely will illicit something similar.

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