Mid-Amateurs to make cut at the Masters
07 Apr 2017
by Chris Brauner of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club

Jay Sigel played in every Masters from 1980-1988 <br>(USGA Photo)
Jay Sigel played in every Masters from 1980-1988
(USGA Photo)

AUGUSTA, GA (April 7, 2017) -- In 1981, the term "mid-amateur" was coined by the USGA when it created the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, a national championship for players of at least 25 years of age.

The idea was to give a championship to post-college players who were increasingly at a disadvantage competing in the U.S. Amateur. Indeed, no mid-amateur has won the U.S. Amateur since John Harris in 1993.

The U.S. Mid-Amateur has come to provide the rare opportunity for any mid-amateur who dreams of competing in the Masters, as the winner has traditionally received an invitation to compete since 1989.

Stewart Hagestad, the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, is realizing that dream this week.

And he is making the most of his opportunity, making the 36-hole cut, becoming the first mid-amateur to do so since 1999. In that year it was Tom McKnight, the runner-up to Trip Kuehne in the U.S. Amateur the year before, who was able to play all four rounds, finishing tied 44th at 9 over par.

Before McKnight it was the aforementioned John Harris in 1994 whose U.S. Amateur win earned his invitation. Harris completed his week at Augusta National tied for 50th at 17-over.

Mid-Amateurs making the Masters cut since 1981
2017Stewart Hagestad Tied 36th
1999Tom McKnightTied 44th
1994John HarrisTied 50th
1987Jay SigelTied 39th
1987Bob Lewis54th
1985 Jay Sigel Tied 44th
1984Bob LewisTied 41st
1982Jim HoltgrieveTied 41st
1981Jay SigelTied 35th
1981Bob Lewis Tied 40th
1981 Jim Holtgrieve 47th

In 1988 it was Jay Sigel making his fourth and final cut of his career at the Masters. Sigel, who played in every Masters from 1980 to 1988, finished 12-over to tie for 39th. Sigel also made the cut in 1980, 1981 and 1985, finishing as high as 26th in 1980.

Bob Lewis made three Masters cuts in the mid-amateur era, in 1981, 1984 and 1987.

The only other mid-amateur to make a Masters cut in the mid-amateur era was Jim Holtgrieve, who won the first U.S. Mid-Amateur in 1981. Holtgrieve made three straight cuts from 1980-1982.

So in 2017 Hagestad joins an exclusive club of six mid-amateurs who have made the cut at the Masters. But he is also now in a class by himself, as the first Mid-Amateur champion invitee to make the cut.

Both Harris and McKnight received their Masters invitations by virtue of their performances in the U.S. Amateur. Sigel and Holtgrieve, although both were U.S. Mid-Amateur champions at the time they competed in the Masters, actually received invitations because they were members of the U.S. Walker Cup team (with Sigel also qualifying with two U.S. Amateur wins in 1982 and 1983). In 1989, the Masters tournament changed its amateur invitation rules and began inviting U.S. Mid-Amateur champions. In the 28 Masters tournaments since, no U.S. Mid-Amateur champion receiving this invite had 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 of completing 72 holes. It only underscores the magnitude of Hagestad's accomplishment.

The highest Masters finish by an amateur aged 25 or over occurred long before anyone of that age would be referred to as a "mid-amateur". In 1961, 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.

ABOUT THE The Masters

One of Golf's four professional majors traditionally invites amateurs who have reached the finals of the US Amateur, or won the British Amateur or the US Mid Amateur. Also included are the winners of the relatively new Asia Pacific Amateur and Latin American Amateur.

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