Stewart Hagestad during semifinal play at Fairfield Country Club
FAIRFIELD, CT (August 6, 2016) -- Stroke-play medalist Stewart Hagestad of Deepdale will face off against recent Carter Cup champion Ethan Ng of Fiddler’s Elbow in the finals of the 114th Met Amateur Championship on Sunday, after both claimed victories in semifinal play on Saturday at Country Club of Fairfield.
Hagestad took a 2&1 victory over 2014 Met Junior champion Dawson Jones of Jumping Brook. Hagestad claimed the first with a birdie-four as Jones found trouble off the tee, but the rising sophomore at Rhode Island came back with a birdie on the par-4 second to return the match to all-square. The match turned back in favor of Hagestad on the picturesque par-3 fourth, as Hagestad rolled in a birdie. After two halves—one with birdies on the par-4 sixth—Jones got up and down from just off the front of the par-4 seventh’s green for a birdie to square the match again. Jones then took a 1-up advantage after hitting the par-5 10th in two shots. Hagestad’s approach came up short and led to a pair of miscues around the green, after which he conceded Jones’ 15 foot eagle. A par-four on the 15th returned the match to all-square, while Hagestad captured a lead again on the par-4 15th, holing a birdie putt from just outside eight feet. The match was clinched on the par-3 17th as Jones couldn’t get up-and-down for par from just short of the green, while Hagestad was successful on a sand save for the 2&1 win.
“I hit a bunch of fairways. I hit it a little bit better than I did yesterday,” explained Hagestad, who was making his second straight semifinals appearance in the Met Amateur. “I think Dawson really played well and that kind of got my head in the game and focused. He forced me to lock in and to make some putts and make some birdies. It was a great match.”
Saturday’s conditions featured more wind than the players had seen over the first two days of competition, making the course play slightly different.
“It’s always easier to play it from the fairways,” said Hagestad regarding the windier conditions. “When the wind comes up, you just have to focus on your rhythm and your tempo. When the wind comes up it makes the course tougher and pars are good.”
Meanwhile, Ng defeated Kieran Purcell of Essex County, who registered a top-five finish in the Ike Championship back in June, by a 3&2 margin. The pair traded birdies on the first two holes. Following three halves, Ng won Nos. 5 and 6 with a par and a birdie to take a 2-up advantage. Purcell’s par-five on the eighth pulled him within one, and a birdie-four on the 10th returned the match to all-square. However, Ng bounced back with a lengthy birdie bid on the par-3 11th to take his lead back. After two halves, Ng carded another birdie on the par-3 14th, making a downhill slider from 15 feet. The 16-year old closed out the match with a 20-foot birdie on the par-4 16th to take the 3&2 win.
“Today was really windy, so it was hard for me to keep the ball down with my irons, but my putting was really the key,” remarked Ng. “I made a lot of long bombs out there for birdie and a lot of good par saves to keep the momentum going.”
Sunday features a 36-hole match to decide the victor in the second-oldest amateur championship in the country. Play will begin at 7:30 a.m., with players returning to the course following lunch. Hagestad, who has finished second and tied for third in the Ike Championship the last two years, will be seeking his first MGA title, while Ng is looking to match Cameron Wilson as the only other player to claim the Carter Cup and Met Amateur in the same season.
View results for Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur Golf Championship