FAIRFIELD, CT (August 5, 2016) -- The semifinals of the 114th Met Amateur Championship are set, as stroke-play medalist Stewart Hagestad of Deepdale, Dawson Jones of Jumping Brook, Kieran Purcell of Essex County and Ethan Ng of Fiddler’s Elbow each won a pair of matches at Country Club of Fairfield to continue their runs in the MGA’s oldest championship.
Hagestad won three holes down the stretch of his morning match against John Felitto of Echo Lake to flip a 1-hole deficit into a 2&1 victory, while he outlasted 2003 Met Am champion Mike Stamberger of Manasquan River in the afternoon in 19 holes. Hagestad took the early lead with an eagle on No. 1, but the lead would change hands four more times through the match. Stamberger took his first lead following back-to-back wins on Nos. 4 and 5, which both came with pars. A birdie on the par-4 seventh pushed his advantage to 2-up, but pars from Hagestad on Nos. 8 and 10—both par-5s—leveled the match. None of the following six holes were halved, with each player taking three and the match becoming all-square once again following a Stamberger par on the par-3 17th. While both had good looks at birdie on the finishing par-4, but neither found the bottom of the cup. Hagestad capitalized on his length again on the first, eagling the par-5 for the 19-hole win.
“Yesterday I obviously played pretty well, and I had a feeling today was going to be pretty emotionally draining,” explained Hagestad. “It was a lot of golf, and match play is a different animal,” he continued. “It’s just such an emotional round of golf—within 30 minutes a 1-up lead can go the other way to 1-up. You kind of have to ride momentum. I didn’t have my best stuff today but I played hard and grinded it out and I’m just happy to be playing again tomorrow.”
Jones had one of the more convincing victories in the morning, defeating William Rand of East Hampton by a 5&3 margin, before also surviving a 19-hole match in the afternoon as he came from behind against MGA eClub – New Jersey member Ryan Siegler. Jones, who will face Hagestad in the semifinals at 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, won Nos. 9 and 10 to claim a 2-up advantage, but Siegler then won four holes in a five-hole stretch to take his own 2-up lead with just two to play. However, pars for Jones on the finishing holes were good enough for wins, pushing the match to the par-5 first. Both players had eagle looks inside of 20 feet, with Jones holing his for the victory.
Purcell, who tied for fourth in this year’s Ike at his home club, took a 2&1 win over Max Greyserman of Crestmont in the afternoon, backing up his 3&1 win—in which he never trailed—over Josh Goldenberg of Fenway. Purcell took a 2-up lead after winning Nos. 5-7, but Greyserman came back with two straight wins to square the match. Purcell notched wins on Nos. 12 and 17, both with pars, to take the 2&1 win coming in.
Despite facing deficits in both matches on the day, recent Carter Cup champion Ng closed strong against both Connor Daly of Siwanoy and Thomas LaMorte of Haworth to claim 2&1 and 3&2 victories. Daly took a 2-up advantage through five, but Ng wouldn’t drop another hole the rest of the way, instead winning four for the 2&1 win. Against LaMorte, Ng took a quick 2-up lead, but LaMorte won three-straight to take the advantage through six holes. But, once again, Ng wouldn’t give up another hole the rest of the way, winning four holes, including Nos. 8 and 9 plus 14 and 16 to take the 3&2 victory.
“The key was putting today,” said Ng, who will face Purcell at 12:10 p.m. in his semifinal match. “I wasn’t hitting the ball that great in the morning, but I had a lot of good par saves that kept me in the match and in the end I made a couple birdies coming down the stretch.”
Though Ng fell behind in both matches, he remained positive, knowing he could turn the momentum at any time. “Early on when you’re down, you know you have the back nine to come back and make a move, so I knew I had a lot of golf left in me,” said the 16-year old.
View results for Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur Golf Championship