Hagestad gets in again

NEWPORT BEACH — Stewart Hagestad was certain of one thing after he played 36 holes of golf on Monday.

"I'm going to sleep really well," Hagestad said with a smile.

Hagestad deserved a good night's rest. He started the U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier at Big Canyon Country Club with a bang and he closed it out with a round of applause.

The 6-foot-5 golfer from Newport Beach nailed an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Hagestad was on his way to Big Canyon's second qualifying spot and his third trip to the U.S. Amateur Championship.

A woman told Hagestad's father, John, "It looks like you're going to Wisconsin."

"I guess so," said John, who is looking forward to making the trip with his son next month to Erin Hills, host of the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship.

John saw his son turn in a four-under-par 140 performance on his home course, just two strokes back of the top qualifier, Graham Brockington. The third qualifier from the sectional was Vista's Sejun Yoon, who recorded a 141.

Hagestad and Brockington have faced each other in college, Hagestad with USC and Brockington with Stanford.

Hagestad said he felt great before the two-round tournament because of a recent trip with his dad to Montana. Father and son might want to visit Big Sky Country more often the way Hagestad began the first round.

Hagestad fired a 66 through the first 18 holes. The number raised some eyebrows, but he has done better, once shooting a 63 at Big Canyon.

He gave himself a chance at hitting that number again. He birdied a half dozen times and eagled once. The eagle came on No. 6, a par four.

"That's when I knew I had something going and you know it might be a good day," Hagestad said.

Hagestad led the 76-player field after the first round, but he was hard on himself.

During the break, his mother, Merry, noticed his demeanor.

"Why are you not so up on yourself after such a great round in the morning?" she asked him.

"Mom, this is a long, long day and a lot of things can happen," Hagestad responded.

A lot happened in the second round to Hagestad and other golfers, especially the local ones.

Newport Beach's Ray Biggerstaff entered the second round in third with a 70. Behind him, Newport Beach's Mike Carpenter and Kevin Hayes had 71s, tying the two with three others for fifth place.

Biggerstaff and Hayes fell apart in the final 18 holes. Biggerstaff was 13 shots over in the second round and he tied for 31st at 155. Hayes was 16 over, putting him in a tie for 43rd at 159.

Hayes, the oldest player at 55, at least had some good excuses.

"I'm looking for some ice right now," Hayes said to someone who asked how he fared.

"We led the field in drinks."

Hayes is a member at Big Canyon along with Carpenter, the men's champion, who placed 13th at 148. Two much younger local golfers finished ahead Hayes and Carpenter.

Mike Moorhead, an incoming senior at Corona del Mar High, and Ryan Knapp, a redshirt sophomore at UC Irvine this upcoming season, finished tied for 10th at 147. Moorhead and Knapp finished five strokes behind the two alternates for the U.S. Amateur Championship, San Diego's Alexander Schauffele and Aliso Viejo's Sammy Cole. Hagestad played with Schauffele in his group, along with former Newport Harbor High standout Travis Russell, who finished in a tie for 16th at 149. While Russell said Hagestad killed it in the first round, Schauffele turned it on in the second round.

Schauffele, who is bound for Long Beach State, impressed Hagestad. Schauffele carded a 68 in the final 18 holes, collecting six birdies to get into a playoff with Cole for the right to be the first alternate and he won the spot.

"He could potentially be something special," Hagestad said of Schauffele, a CIF State champion last season.

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