Hagestad faces an early hiccup

Newport Beach golfer, in 111th U.S. Amateur beginning Monday, hopes lost clubs arrive in time.

August 19, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
  • Stewart Hagestad of Newport Beach finished second in the Costa Mesa City Championship.
Stewart Hagestad of Newport Beach finished second in… (Don Leach, unknown )

Stewart Hagestad said he landed in Milwaukee on time. His golf bag did not on Friday.

The 20-year-old golfer from Newport Beach will need his clubs by Monday.

With his Titleist equipment or someone else's, Hagestad plans to compete in the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship at Erin Hills. The trip is Hagestad's third to a U.S. Amateur in the last four years.

Every year, something seems to go wrong with Hagestad's flight. Phoenix seems to be the problem.

"The bag was left in Phoenix this time," Hagestad said before calling it just another pre-U.S. Amateur hiccup.

The first year, he said, monsoons in Phoenix forced him to take a different route to reach one of the world's top courses, Pinehurst in North Carolina.

The change sacked Hagestad before play began.

"I got in at two in the morning," said Hagestad, who lasted just two days in the tournament.

The 6-foot-5 Hagestad expects to make it into match play for the first time. He flew in a couple of days before the tournament tees off, looking to settle in.


This is his second time in Milwaukee, but Hagestad has never played at Erin Hills. The long course offers no distractions, even though the layout is situated on farmland.

There will be more golfers roaming around than farm animals.

The field boasts 312 competitors, as young as 15 and as old as 52. Hagestad, who plays at USC, is starting to feel like a regular at the U.S. Amateur.

Hagestad earned one of three spots out of Big Canyon Country Club to the U.S. Amateur, finishing second at the sectional qualifier on July 25.

"I feel pretty confident about my game," said Hagestad, who recorded a four-under-par 140 at his home course to qualify. "I've been playing really well. I struggled with my putting, my short putts, but I switched to a long putter and I love the thing.

"This is a fun event, the cream of the crop of amateur tournaments. I'm excited to get out [on the course on Saturday] and see how the course is."

Hagestad will feel even better when his golf bag arrives. He expected the airline to get him his bag by midnight, before his scheduled practice round at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Worst case scenario, Hagestad said, he will play his practice round with the head pro's clubs, borrow some from a friend, or ask one of the reps for a set.

"A lot of top-notch guys carry an extra set," Hagestad said. "The most important thing is the shaft.

"I also do need the long putter. It's crucial. That's my baby."

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