Amateur Stewart Hagestad is going toe-to-toe with the top players in the world as he posted 73 Friday to finish at 3-over-par and make the cut at the Masters Tournament.
The 25-year-old Southern Cal graduate made a bit of history, too, as the first player since the Mid-Amateur champ was granted a Masters exemption in 1989 to reach the weekend at Augusta.
But the financial analyst who is taking a break from work to pursue a spot on the Walker Cup team isn’t ready to devote his life to golf. When asked, he quickly responded “absolutely not” to any thoughts of turning pro.
Hagestad was more expansive when talking about his stellar round, which included a brilliant birdie at No. 18, where his 179-yard, 6-iron approach came rolling back to the hole for a near eagle.
“My adrenaline was firing a little bit, because I knew where I stood and I obviously knew the history with Mid-Ams and the Masters and that’s something that’s been on my mind the whole week,” Hagestad said. “So I really wanted to grind out a nice par, and the fact that it ended up about a foot … I’m really happy it wasn’t much longer than that.”
Curtis Luck plans to turn pro at the Valero Texas Open in two weeks, and the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world showed he is ready with an impressive round.
The 20-year-old Australian shot even-par 72 and made the cut at 6-over. Luck didn’t know whether he had made the weekend when he left the course and didn’t plan on doing any scoreboard watching.
“I will not look at a leaderboard until 8 o’clock tonight, because it would ruin my day if I do,” he said.
Luck parred every hole on the front nine and drained a 22-footer for birdie at No. 10. He followed with birdies at Nos. 13 and 15.
“I was really happy with the way I played,” Luck said. “It was very similar conditions to what it was yesterday. The greens are a bit firmer and faster. I think a couple of the tee shots I probably got my head around a little bit more last night, just knowing what to expect today.”
University of Oklahoma sophomore Brad Dalke improved on his first round score by three strokes with 3-over-par 75 to finish at 9-over. The 19-year-old had some highlights on the back nine – including an 8-iron at No. 16 to two feet for a tap-in birdie and a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to close things out.
“I wish I could have played a little bit better, but it was the experience of a lifetime,” said Dalke, who qualified as the U.S. Amateur runner-up.
Now he will prepare for the NCAA Tournament and the U.S. Open.
“This showed me that I’m just as good as these guys,” Dalke said. “I hit my irons better than a lot of them, but I need to drive it a little straighter and get more consistent with my putting.”
Latin America Amateur champion Toto Gana of Chile followed his opening-round 81 with an 80, but he was effusive about the experience he had in his first trip to Augusta National. Gana, 19, shot even par on the front nine and experienced the thrill of a lifetime on the par-3 sixth hole.
“Today on No. 6 I made a chip-in and the people were clapping, and I never have felt like that, never in my life,” he said.
Scott Gregory of England played much better Friday, following his opening-round 82 with a 75 that included an eagle at No. 2 and a birdie on No. 9.