Stewart Hagestad (Joe Nieporte photo)
The George L. Coleman Invitational is not for lightweights, so it's only appropriate that two former USGA champions walked away with titles at the esteemed Seminole Golf Club on Saturday afternoon.
Two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad
shot a final round 71 (-1) to finish at even-par for the 54-hole event and earn a two-stroke victory over Evan Beck
in the mid-amateur division, while Bob Royak
, winner of the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur, came from four shots back to capture the senior division title by a stroke over Mike McCoy
and Robert Gerwin II
The victory has been a long time coming for Hagestad, who has been playing in the Coleman since 2017, while Royak picked up the senior title in his first trip to Juno Beach, Fla.
After opening with rounds of 71-74, Hagestad began the day in second place at 1-over par, one shot behind Beck, the 36-hole leader who managed back-to-back rounds of 72 in windy conditions on Thursday and Friday.
The reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
got off to a dream start with birdies on his first three holes to quickly wrest the lead away from Beck. The two players made the turn deadlocked at even par but Hagestad opened up a two-shot lead thanks to a birdie on the par-4 10th coupled with a bogey by Beck on the 12th.
After a monster drive on the par-5 14th, Hagestad stuffed a wedge to two feet and then tapped in for an eagle which boosted his lead to four with just four holes remaining. A birdie by Beck cut the lead to three, but Hagestad had built enough of a cushion to withstand a bogey on the last, resulting in a two-shot victory.
“There is so much history at this event and I really wanted my name up on the wall in this locker room," said Hagestad. "Just the names of the players who have hit balls on this range is incredible."
The lowest score of the day was 69 shot by this year's Argentina Amateur champion Andres Schonbaum
, which was just one of two rounds in the 60s this week with the other turned in by Patrick Duffy
, who held the first-round lead before tying for eighth place.
Making his first appearance at the Coleman, Bob Royak had dug quite a hole for himself after shooting a 5-over 77 in the opening round on Thursday. A second-round score of 75 left him at 8-over 152 and four strokes behind 36-hole leader Robert Gerwin II and two back of three-time Coleman champion Mike McCoy.
Royak saved his best golf for the final day, carding a 2-under 70 on Saturday while Gerwin and McCoy turn in rounds of 75 and 73, respectively, leaving the Alpharetta, Ga. native to hoist the senior trophy in his maiden journey to the Coleman.
Like Hagestad in the mid-am division, Royak came out blistering hot on Saturday with birdies on his first three holes. After an outward nine of 33, Royak had cut Gerwin's lead to one while McCoy had fallen three off the pace.
However, the fireworks were just beginning.
McCoy, a Seminole member, birdied three of the first five holes to start the second nine and opened a two-stroke lead over both Royak and Gerwin heading to 15.
Playing one group in front of McCoy and Gerwin, Royak picked up a birdie on the 15th, parred 16 and 17 then bogeyed the last, leaving him with a 70 to stand at 6-over 222 for the tournament.
Gerwin slipped one back after making a bogey on the 17th, leaving McCoy needing par the final hole to wrap up his first Coleman senior title and fourth Coleman title overall.
McCoy's second shot into the last rolled off the right side of the green, leaving him with a 30-yard uphill chip shot. He uncharacteristically duffed his third shot, leaving him with a difficult up and down for a bogey to force a playoff. He putted to within six feet, but left his bogey putt an inch short, handing Royak the title.
"After I was 3-under through three holes, I knew I was right there with the lead," said Royak. "On this golf course, four shots means nothing. It's high wire golf out there and you can't lose focus on any shots."
“The club is great, the golf course is great, and the staff is fantastic. Hopefully, they will have me back.”
Joe Nieporte contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE Coleman Invitational
One of the very best amateur events all year
long played on the last great private course
designed by Donald Ross. The course, not long
today's standards, lies hard by the Atlantic
Ocean. Oceanic winds and very fast greens
this course teeth. Ben Hogan once said 'If you
can play Seminole, you can play any course in
The tournament is a 54-hole stroke play invitational
that draws an elite field of mid-
amateurs and seniors.
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