Stewart Hagestad is the 2016 MGA Player of the Year
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (November 7, 2016) – Following spectacular performances by Stewart Hagestad both in the Met Area and on the national stage this season, the Metropolitan Golf Association is pleased to announce the 25-year old Deepdale golfer as the recipient of the 2016 MGA Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year Award. Hagestad’s win in the Met Amateur Championship and remarkable rally to claim the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship certainly highlighted his year, but consistent high finishes in area events also led to his capturing the coveted title. The award will be presented to Hagestad at the MGA’s 119th Annual Meeting and Dinner on Wednesday, December 7 at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y.
The MGA Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the Met Area amateur who compiles the best record in select events during the course of the year, and is based on a system in which players earn points for their finishes in designated local, national and international championships.
Hagestad, a California native playing his second season in the Met Area, began the year with a convincing four-shot win at the Brae Burn Invitational in early June. His schedule began to pick up late in the month as he tied for seventh at the Hochster Memorial then competed in the Ike Championship, the event in which he made his MGA debut in 2015 with a second place finish. He once again made a run at the title this year, finishing third to collect 125 more points.
In July, Hagestad finished second at the Arcola Cup and qualified for his seventh U.S. Amateur, gathering 50 points for both results. At this point in the season, Hagestad was off to a good start but stood more than 300 points behind leader Trevor Randolph of Arcola, who had already notched three victories and logged three more top-four finishes. However, Hagestad’s play over the next month and a half quickly vaulted him to the top of the listing.
His incredible run began with the Met Amateur at Country Club of Fairfield. Hagestad scorched the course with record-setting rounds of 61-64 in on-site qualifying and earned medalist honors by 10 strokes. Though his victories in match play didn’t come in such an overwhelming fashion, Hagestad’s poise and focus led him to victory time and time again while overcoming deficits in every round. Pitted against rising star Ethan Ng of Fiddler’s Elbow in the championship match, the pair played stellar golf and combined for just five bogeys. But, with Hagestad seemingly destined for the title from the start of the championship, a birdie on the 38thhole earned him the victory and 325 player of the year points—placing him just three points behind Randolph.
At his first Met Open, Hagestad began with a 6-over 76, but bounced back with rounds of 71-70 as Glen Oaks Club continued to challenge the area’s best competitors. A tie for 11th and finish as second low amateur netted him 110 points and moved him to the top of the points race for good.
Hagestad’s first U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship followed at Stonewall in Elverson, Pa., where he carded rounds of 73-70 to lock up the No. 12 seed in match play. He never trailed in either of his first two matches and didn’t face a deficit of more than one hole until the quarterfinals, which he overcame with a strong finish en route to a 2-up win. After a 4-and-2 victory in the semifinals, the title was on the line against familiar foe Scott Harvey, who defeated Hagestad in a playoff at the George C. Thomas Invitational at Los Angeles Country Club earlier in the summer. Hagestad faced a five-hole deficit as late as the 25th hole and stood four down with five to play. However, with one birdie after another he climbed back, even winning the 35th and 36th holes to square the match. Play continued on the par-3 ninth hole, where Hagestad capped off the comeback victory with yet another birdie. He earned a whopping 400 player of the year points and suddenly owned a 300-plus point lead of his own.
Randolph made things interesting in the following weeks as his remarkable 2016 play continued with a second place finish at the Bergen County Amateur, a successful defense of his MGA Mid-Amateur title and by advancing to the semifinals in the Nassau Invitational. Hagestad also competed in the final point-eligible event for both competitors and the two tied for second at the Boff Invitational. Hagestad finished with 1273 total points, the highest total since Mike Miller’s 1330 in 2012, and the prestigious title of MGA Player of the Year.
“For as short a time that I’ve been a golfer in the Met Area, I’m lucky enough to be in the same sentence as the guys before me and be on that list of champions,” says Hagestad of the accomplishment.
Behind Randolph, LIGA Amateur champion Darin Goldstein of Noyac and Bergen County Amateur winner Brian Komline of Black Oak finished tied third on the 2016 MGA Player of the Year Honor Roll, while Carter Cup titlist Ng rounded out the top-five. Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake, Jonathan Jeter of Nassau Players, Kieran Purcell of Essex County, Tyler Cline of Tuxedo, and Dennis Lynch of Nassau Players complete the top 10 Honor Roll listing.