AUGUSTA, GA (April 7, 2017) -- In 1981,
term "mid-amateur" was coined by the USGA
created the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, a
championship for players of at least 25 years of
The idea was to give a championship to
post-college players who were increasingly at a
disadvantage competing in the U.S. Amateur.
no mid-amateur has won the U.S. Amateur since
John Harris in 1993.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur has come to provide
rare opportunity for any mid-amateur who
competing in the Masters, as the winner has
traditionally received an invitation to compete
Stewart Hagestad, the
reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, is realizing
that dream this week.
And he is making the most of his
making the 36-hole cut, becoming the first
mid-amateur to do so since 1999. In that year it
Tom McKnight, the runner-up to Trip Kuehne in
the U.S. Amateur the year before, who was able
play all four rounds, finishing tied 44th at 9 over
Before McKnight it was the aforementioned
Harris in 1994 whose U.S. Amateur win earned
invitation. Harris completed his week at Augusta
National tied for 50th at 17-over.
|Mid-Amateurs making the
cut since 1981|
1999||Tom McKnight||Tied 44th|
1994||John Harris||Tied 50th|
|1987||Jay Sigel||Tied 39th|
1982||Jim Holtgrieve||Tied 41st|
1981||Jay Sigel||Tied 35th|
In 1988 it was Jay Sigel making his fourth
final cut of his career at the Masters. Sigel, who
played in every Masters from 1980 to 1988,
12-over to tie for 39th. Sigel also made the cut
1980, 1981 and 1985, finishing as high as 26th
Bob Lewis made three Masters cuts in the
mid-amateur era, in 1981, 1984 and 1987.
The only other mid-amateur to make a
the mid-amateur era was Jim Holtgrieve, who
the first U.S. Mid-Amateur in 1981. Holtgrieve
three straight cuts from 1980-1982.
So in 2017 Hagestad joins an exclusive
club of six mid-amateurs who have made the cut
Masters. But he is also now in a class by himself,
first Mid-Amateur champion invitee to make the
Both Harris and McKnight received their
invitations by virtue of their performances in the
U.S. Amateur. Sigel and Holtgrieve, although
were U.S. Mid-Amateur champions at the time
competed in the Masters, actually received
invitations because they were members of the
Walker Cup team (with Sigel also qualifying with
U.S. Amateur wins in 1982 and 1983). In 1989,
Masters tournament changed its amateur
rules and began inviting U.S. Mid-Amateur
champions. In the 28 Masters tournaments
U.S. Mid-Amateur champion receiving this invite
made the cut until Hagestad.
That fact is even more jarring when one
considers the impressive list of U.S. Mid-Amateur
champions, with players like Tim Jackson (twice), Kevin Marsh, Trip Kuehne, Nathan Smith (four times),
Mike McCoy and Scott Harvey all falling short
completing 72 holes. It only underscores the
magnitude of Hagestad's accomplishment.
The highest Masters finish by an amateur
25 or over occurred long before anyone of that
would be referred to as a "mid-amateur". In
Charlie Coe finished as the runner-up (tied with
Arnold Palmer) to Gary Player.
Coe compiled the best Masters record of any
amateur, making the cut 15 times and recording
three top-10 finishes. He knew his way around
Augusta National so well that he finished tied for
23rd in 1970 at the age of 46.