Stewart Hagestad finally plays in and wins U.S. Amateur match

Stewart Hagestad plays his tee shot on the fifth hole during the round of 64 at the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Copyright USGA/JD Cuban) JD Cuban/USGA

Stewart Hagestad finally plays in and wins U.S. Amateur match

Amateur

Stewart Hagestad finally plays in and wins U.S. Amateur match

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.—Eight different times Stewart Hagestad has played a U.S. Amateur and eight times he’s failed to make match play. So don’t blame the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion from taking extra pleasure in his Round of 64 win over England’s Harry Hall.

The 1-up victory ended two dubious U.S. Amateur streaks for the former Walker Cup player from Newport Beach, California, and sets him up for a Round of 32 showdown with David Chatfield, a 6 and 4 winner over Ryan Smith.

“It was a big personal accomplishment that had kind of been lifted,” Hagestad said of finally making match play. “I feel like I slept pretty well last night.”

With the amateur returning to his native California, observers would expect Hagestad to have experience at the legendary seaside course hosting next year’s U.S. Open.

Instead, his win over Hall marked just a third time around Pebble after a practice round and the stroke play qualifying. Hagestad has played nearby Cypress Point with friends and in Stanford’s college event. To get acquainted with Pebble Beach’s tricky greens, Hagestad has employed local caddie Billy Bodensteiner.

“I have a great guy that’s going to help me out there, so I owe a tremendous amount of credit to him,” Hagestad said.

The match arrived at the 18th with Hagestad enjoying a one-up advantage. He played safely off the tee while Hall hit a huge drive past the distinctive Cypress tree bisecting the landing area.

Hagestad laid up left and faced a simple third. Hall had his ideal distance.

“I said to Coach [Phillip] Rowe, my caddie on my second shot, my five-wood’s my favorite club, I’m at Pebble Beach playing the U.S. Amateur, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Hall.

“Everybody that knows me if I have the five wood in my hands I’m pretty special but it wasn’t my best.”

The ball ended up in the bay, seemingly ending the match. But Hagestad hit his third into the green side bunker, leaving a long shot that he advanced far enough to two putt and earn a concession from Hall.

“Under pressure it’s important to execute and I didn’t. Maybe when I play in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach it’ll be different.”

Hall also stood out all week at Pebble Beach for his tan corduroy fisherman hat, perfectly coordinated with his light brown shoes. Hall picked up the hat at Urban Outfitters.

“I just thought I’d mix it up this week,” Hall said. “I normally wear my Nike hat with my Nike shirt. I bought this a few months ago but never thought about wearing it. But I have brown golf shoes and a brown belt and thought, why not?”

While Hall goes home, Hagestad the former USC Trojan now plays Notre Dame’s Chatfield in his first-ever visit to the round of 32 match.  Hagestad hopes to bring the edge that produced a dramatic come-from-behind U.S. Mid-Amateur win. Mostly, he’s just happy to still be playing Pebble Beach in the U.S. Amateur.

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