Mid-Am Champ Wins Low Amateur Honor
Stewart Hagestad told his caddie that he wasn’t concerned where he stood entering Augusta National’s famed second nine on Sunday. At least the 25-year-old Californian and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion didn’t admit that.
“I told J.D. (caddie John Doherty) in the 10th fairway, ‘Hey, we’re playing Augusta National on Sunday afternoon, the day before my (26th) birthday and it’s a perfect day. It doesn’t get much better than this,’” Hagestad said. “Obviously, Low Amateur was important to me and it was a huge goal, but I think one part of getting older is that there’s so much more to it than that.”
Hagestad is the first Mid-Amateur champion to capture Low Amateur honors at the Masters since Jay Sigel in 1988. He finished with a 73 and, at 6-over-par 294, three better than Curtis Luck, the U.S. Amateur and Asia Pacific Amateur champion. Hagestad’s mindset paid off as he birdied Nos. 13 and 14 to gain breathing room over Luck, who shot a 72 earlier in the day.
Hagestad will play amateur golf this summer and enter graduate school, probably at Southern Cal. Luck is turning professional and will make his PGA Tour debut in two weeks at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
The Top 12
Any player who finishes within the top 12 at the Masters earns a coveted invitation to the following year’s Tournament. In addition to Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, who tied for the lead after 72 holes before Garcia won in a playoff, the top 12 included Charl Schwartzel, Matt Kuchar, Thomas Pieters, Paul Casey, Kevin Chappell, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Ryan Moore, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Henley, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.
Charley Hoffman, who led the Tournament outright after the first round and held a share of the lead after the second, shot a final-round 78 to tie for 22nd place. Among those tied with him is William McGirt, a 37-year-old Masters rookie who held second place after the first round and fifth place after the second round.
Slam Dunk on 5, Roll In on 7
There were two eagles on par 4s on Sunday. Russell Henley slam-dunked a 7-iron for an eagle at the par-4 No. 5. The force of his shot severely damaged the lip of the cup, requiring officials to repair the damage. It was the ninth time the hole has been eagled, the last time coming when Rich Beem made a 2 there in the final round in 2003. Amazingly, Jack Nicklaus made two eagles on the hole in 2005, in the first and third rounds.
Mark Leishman used a 9-iron to make eagle on the par-4 No. 7. His approach shot landed in the middle-back portion of the green and spun back into the hole, located at the right-front location. It was the fourth eagle on the hole in Masters history and the first since David Duval’s in 2001.
No. 14 has had the most eagles of any par 4 in Tournament history, with 20.
McIlroy’s Finish, Near Future
Rory McIlroy played the weekend in 4-under par, including a final-round 69, to finish in a tie for 7th. He has finished T8, fourth, T10 and T7 the last four years.
“I’m getting more comfortable here,” McIlroy said. “I feel like every time I tee it up here I have a real good chance to win.”
McIlroy plans to be married later this month.