A Quick Nine with Stewart Hagestad

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Golf Clubs

Stewart Hagestad won his second US Mid-Am title at Sankaty Head (USGA photo)

With two US mid-amateur titles and three Walker Cup appearances on his resplendent resume, Stewart Hagestad has become one of the most successful and well-known mid-amateurs of all time.

His win at Sankaty Head Golf Club in September was his second American mid-amateur title in five years, following his 2016 triumph at the Stonewall (Old Course) in Elverson, Pennsylvania when he ran a four-hole deficit overcame to hit Scott Harvey a 15-foot birdie putt on the first additional hole. This time it was Hagestad who was being chased as he enjoyed a 5-up lead over Mark Constanza after the first 18 holes and held on to a 2-and-1 victory.

Numerous fog delays and 121 holes of match play made for a very long week in Siasconset, Mass. for the 30-year-old Hagestad, who will be an exception for the US Open at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. next summer, likely received an invitation to the 2022 Masters where he was the low amateur and the first medium amateur to make the cut in 2016 made it to Augusta National.

As impressive as his march to his second US mid-amateur championship was, it was an athletic act in a highly competitive quarter-final match with Christian Sease that further enriched Hagestad’s growing legacy.

It was on the 14th green that Hagestad moved his marker so as not to disturb his opponent’s line, and in the heat of the moment he momentarily forgot to put his marker back in its original position. Following a reminder from Sease, Hagestad re-marked his ball and after missing his birdie attempt, he immediately conceded Sease’s 8-foot par putt as a thank you for his opponent’s memory.

“It just felt right to give him the 8-foot,” said Hagestad after the game. “He couldn’t easily have said anything and I could have lost the hole. It’s more important to be a good guy than anything else. Obviously winning the hole is a plus, but it was the right way and I would do it again. “

In our first section of A Quick Nine, AmateurGolf.com caught up with the two-time US mid-amateur champion to share his thoughts on his future, some of his mentors and what he’s doing in the off-season to stay, to experience. You may be surprised by his answer.

A Quick Nine with Stewart Hagestad

1) How does your second American mid-amateur title compare to your first?
Both the first and second time, absolute dreams have come true and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was honored to be named USGA champion then, and I feel just as humble to be named reigning mid-amateur champion now.

Stewart Hagestad is your US Mid-Amateur Champion 2021, defeating Mark Costanza 2 & 1!

The amateur Trojan star used his 5-hole lead to 18 to resist Costanza’s morning rally, claiming the title with a birdie to 35, the only hole he won today. Incredible conclusion. #FightOn pic.twitter.com/892BG4uH9o

– USC Men’s Golf (@USCMensGolf) October 1, 2021 2) How do you prepare for a championship?
This changes from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. By April next year I’ll be putting my clubs down for now and focusing on putting on a lot of weight to get stronger while giving my body some time to rest. When I topped the US Mid-Am, I just tried to stay relaxed, healthy, and feel good about my game through training and the confidence to play well at other events.

3) What are some of your future goals with two wins in the US mid-amateur class and three appearances in the Walker Cup?
I’m still decompressing and trying to enjoy this win. I haven’t given too much thought to the future and I try to concentrate on other goals besides golf. At this stage of my amateur career, most of my goals are related to USGA championships, major championships, national team events, and anything I can do to grow and give back to amateur gaming that has given me so many incredible experiences.

It is official! 🏆

The WINNING POINT of the 48th #WalkerCup match belongs to @s_hagestad and the USA 🇺🇸 team! pic.twitter.com/P90R16FgmY

– The Walker Cup (@WalkerCup) May 9, 2021 4) Who have been some of your mentors over the years?
I worked with Jim Flick for 6-7 years from 16 to early 20s. He really was the first person to help me believe in my golf swing and ability and take responsibility for it. I can’t say enough great things about him from a coaching perspective and a mentoring perspective. Much like Jim, Matt Cuccaro gave me the opportunity to learn more about the mental side of the game and provided me with many of the tools I still use today. From a player’s point of view, I could go on like this. Basically everyone who has played at a high level and understands the sacrifices that are necessary to play. (Four-time American mid-amateur champion) Nathan Smith is one of my closest friends, and he understands many of these victims more than anyone.

5) How do you find a balance between being a highly competitive amateur and everyday life?
I look up to many people who can do much more than just reconcile competitive golf and everyday life. Set your standards and goals high, make the appropriate sacrifices to best prepare, and try to surround yourself with people who are better than you.

6) How do you stay sharp in the off-season?
I don’t play a lot in the off-season. I take my time off seriously and look forward to giving my body and mind a chance to revitalize. When I play, it is usually with close friends and family. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to prepare and give myself the best chance to play well in the spring.

7) What were your reasons for staying an amateur instead of trying to earn your tour card?
When I graduated from college, I wasn’t good enough. The guys who play on tour are all amazing players and I feel like I made the right decision. Going pro is not for everyone and I am very happy to have met so many great players and people who make amateur golf so incredibly unique.

8) Three courses on your bucket list?
Merion, Crystal Downs, Sand Hills

9) interests outside of golf?
I love being active and doing anything that is competitive. All outdoor or live events are exactly my thing.

The Hagestad file
Born: April 10, 1991 in Newport Beach, California.
College: University of Southern California
Lives: New York City
US mid-range amateur victories (2): 2016, 2021
Appearances in the Walker Cup (3): 2017, 2019, 2021
US Open appearances (3): 2017, 2018, 2019
US amateur appearances: Dec.
Other notable victories: 2009 Scott Robertson Memorial (boys 15-18); 2016 Metropolitan Amateur; 2019 Pan American Games, mixed team; 2021 George C. Thomas Invitational