The lone Australian to make the match play at the US Amateur advanced to the round of 32 today. Queensland’s Jack Trent defeating Florida’s Jackson Suber 3 & 2, while injured compatriot Karl Vilips’ time as a caddie will continue as others look to secure US Open spots.
Stewart Hagestad came into this week at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort with two main goals: make a deep enough run to lower his World Amateur Golf Ranking to gain a US Open exemption, and continue his push toward making a third consecutive US Walker Cup Team next spring.
On Tuesday, the lanky Southern Californian was in a tenuous position to fulfill those aspirations, sitting at 2 over par through 26 holes of stroke play. But he played his last 10 holes in 6 under to complete a 6-under 66 at Bandon Dunes and put himself comfortably into the match-play draw. That set up a Round-of-64 matchup with 2020 Latin America Amateur champion Abel Gallegos, of Argentina.
And just as in stroke play, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion had to find some intestinal fortitude to avoid a premature exit. Down one hole with two to play, Hagestad, 29, of Newport Beach, rallied with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to pull out a 1-up victory over the talented 18-year-old.
“I stayed patient and played great,” said Hagestad, who is currently No. 15 in the WAGR. (The top 7 in the WAGR on August 19 who are not previously exempt get into next month’s US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club).
“It’s obviously tough to back up a nice round coming off of yesterday, but I played really hard and stayed patient and was lucky to make a couple birdies when I needed them.”
Hagestad, who has competed in the last three US Opens, was one of four USGA champions to post opening-round victories on a sunny, breezy day on the southwest Oregon coast. Temperatures creeped into the low 60s (Fahrenheit) with sustained winds in the teens and gusts as high as 24 miles per hour.
Michael Thorbjornsen, 18, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, the 2018 US Junior Amateur champion, joined Hagestad, 2015 US Junior Amateur champion Philip Barbaree, 22, of Shreveport, Louisiana, and 2017 US Amateur Four-Ball champion Frankie Capan, 20, of North Oaks, Minnesota, in the Round of 32.
A two-time USGA champion, Scott Harvey, 42, of Kernersville, North Carolina, who won last year’s US Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the adjacent Old Macdonald course, wasn’t so fortunate, as he fell to Notre Dame rising senior Davis Chatfield, 21, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, 1 up.
While 2019 runner-up John Augenstein, 22, of Owensboro, Kentucky, and Davis Thompson, 21, of Sea Island, Georgia, at No. 4 the highest-ranked player in the field, were eliminated, medallist Wilson Furr, 22, of Jackson, Mississippi, rolled to a 6-and-4 victory over Aaron Du, 18, of the People’s Republic of China.
Furr, who carded a course-record 62 at Bandon Trails in Round 2 of stroke play, continued his torrid play with a pair of eagles on par 4s: Nos. 8 and 10, with the latter conceded. He played the equivalent of 6-under-par golf over 14 holes, with the usual concessions.
Thorbjornsen defeated University of Georgia standout Trent Phillips, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, 3 and 2, somewhat avenging an opening-round loss from two years ago in the US Amateur at Pebble Beach, when he fell to Trent’s older brother, Trevor.
“He played amazing that day,” Thorbjornsen said of that 2018 encounter. “I think he shot 3 or 4 under and I just was helpless out there. I couldn't do anything against him. But coming into this [match] today, I really didn't think too much about it. I know Trent is a really good player, but I just had to take it like a normal match, like any other person.”
Thorbjornsen has an Aussie link this week in Oregon, with star amateur and Stanford University student Vilips carrying his bag having missed out on filing an entry to the event after a badly broken finger while playing basketball.
Barbaree, a rising senior at Louisiana State University, saw a 4-up lead evaporate against Turk Pettit before he survived in 19 holes when the Clemson standout missed a 4-foot par putt.
Capan, who just transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University from Alabama this summer, survived a hard-fought match with Derek Busby, 2 and 1.
Matthew Sharpstene, 21, of Asheville, North Carolina, posted the biggest upset of the day in defeating Augenstein, 1 up. Down two holes after seven, Sharpstene, a rising junior at UNC Charlotte after transferring from West Virginia, rallied with birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 13 to take a 1-up lead. After Augenstein tied the match with a par on 15, Sharpstene took the lead for good with a winning par at 16. Augenstein’s 18-foot birdie attempt to force extra holes just missed on the par-5 18th.
Trent, who attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and made the cut at the PGA Tour’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2019, was down early in his Round of 64 match with Suber, before winning five holes in an eight hole stretch to take a commanding lead and close out the match on the 16th hole.
The World No.77 amateur, will play Cameron Sisk of California in the next round.