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Golf: Hagestad heavily in the swing

August 09, 2012|By Bryce Alderton
  • Newport Beach resident Stewart Hagestad will compete in the U.S. Amater Championship in Colorado next week.
Newport Beach resident Stewart Hagestad will compete… (STEVEN GEORGES,…)

So how does Newport Beach's Stewart Hagestad prepare for his fourth United States Amateur Championship in the last five years?

Answer: Win four matches to reach the final of the fifth Southern California Golf Association Match Play Championships at Sandpiper Golf Club in Goleta.

Hagestad, a Big Canyon Country Club member and incoming USC senior, took Notre Dame's Niall Platt to the 17th hole in Wednesday's final before Platt pulled out a two-and-one victory.

Platt took the early lead on Hagestad with a birdie and eagle in the first five holes. Hagestad, playing the course for the first time this week, birdied the first hole and remained on Platt's heels. Hagestad parred the 13th hole, a 532-yard par-five, to trim Platt's lead to one up. Platt regained the lead for good with a par on the par-five 15th hole, while Hagestad bogeyed.

The tournament started Monday with 32 players, four of whom will play in the U.S. Amateur that begins Monday at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

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Hagestad defeated the second and third seeds during the SCGA Match Play event, and also won a match against this year's Los Angeles City Champion, Alex Angard, two up.

"It was fun," Hagestad said. "I played well and had a hot start [in the match play final against Platt]. Match play has more pressure and it's an intense atmosphere. Every single match went down to the last three holes. I did everything to my expectations. At the same time, I expect a lot of myself. I expect to make every [putt] I hit.

"I'm bummed that I lost, but now I'm going to get ready for the U.S. Amateur."

Hagestad, who placed fourth at last month's SCGA Amateur Championship at Big Canyon, will be among a field of 312 golfers who will tee off Monday at Cherry Hills and CommonGround Golf Course. Golfers will play 36 holes of stroke play Monday and Tuesday. After Tuesday's round, the field will be trimmed to 64 golfers who will compete in match play until the 36-hole final Aug. 19.

Hagestad, who stands 6-foot-5, has made a habit of competing in U.S. Amateurs. He was medalist at 136 (two-round total) in a qualifier at Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda, Mont., on July 16.

Tournaments like the SCGA Match Play provide pressure Hagestad believes makes him better.

He spent Thursday practicing before traveling to Colorado on Friday.

"The U.S. Amateur has always meant a lot to me," Hagestad said. "I'll be as good as ready to compete."

Hagestad tees off on No. 10 at CommonGround at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

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