AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad became the first mid-amateur to make the 36-hole cut at The Masters since the tournament began inviting the Mid-Am champion in 1989. Hagestad, 25, shot 3-over-par 145 (74-73) to advance to the weekend at Augusta National Golf Club.
Hagestad amazed all, himself included, with an opening 74, 2-over par, in windswept conditions that some players described as borderline unplayable. He followed with a second-round 73, punctuated on the final hole by a birdie that was almost an eagle. He hit his 6-iron approach from 179 yards over the flag, but the ball spun back and nearly toppled in. He holed his ensuing kick-in.
Hagestad received his Masters invitation by virtue of one of the more stunning comebacks in the American amateur game. At the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur, he birdied four of the final five holes to tie defending champion Scott Harvey, then birdied the first playoff hole to win.
Hagestad is not the first mid-amateur to make the cut at The Masters, as has been reported. Jim Holtgrieve and Jay Sigel made the Masters cut in 1982 and 1988, respectively, but did not compete on a Mid-Amateur champion’s exemption.
Joining Hagestad on the weekend is fellow amateur Curtis Luck, the reigning U.S. Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur champion. In his final amateur outing before his expected switch to the professional ranks next week, the ponytailed Australian, currently No. 1 amateur in the world, birdied the two back-nine par-5s on the way to a second-round 72, even par. He finished at 6-over-par 150 and will duel with Hagestad for low-amateur honors over the next 36 holes.
Hagestad and Luck were the only two of five invited amateurs to make the cut, which came at 6 over.