Hagestad holds off Costanza for Mid-Am Championship

Stewart Hagestad poses with the trophy after winning the final match at the 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Sankaty Head Golf Club in Siasconset, Mass. on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Chris Keane/USGA)

Stewart Hagestad won this year’s U.S. Mid-Am Championship on Nantucket yesterday morning but it wasn’t in as easy fashion as many expected. After taking a seven-hole lead over Mark Costanza on day one, Hagestad saw that lead evaporate and trimmed to a one hole advantage with five holes to play on day two.

“What a battle,” Hagestad said to Costanza after the match. “I knew that you were a great player and if you ever make it out to the west coast I would love to host in whatever way I can. You are a great golfer but forget that, you are an even better guy. I can’t wait for future battles.”

Photo by Holly Matteson Pagon

Costanza went into the second day down five holes after making up two holes in the back nine of day one. The final was 36-holes total with 18-holes played on Thursday and 18 holes played on Friday. Costanza began Friday with birdies on holes three and five while Hagestad shot a par on both holes. Hagestad bogeyed on the sixth hole while Costanza shot a par, lowering Hagestad’s lead to two holes.

“I was happy to get back from seven down to five down by the end of Thursday,” Costanza said. “I knew I had to come out on Friday and hit some good shots and make some putts. On three when I made birdie there it was sort of a kick starter for me. It sort of calmed me down a little bit where I said okay, play my game and the way I know I am capable of playing and make this a match, which I was able to do.”

Photo by Holly Matteson Pagon

Costanza and Hagestad battled on holes seven through 12 with neither player able to narrow or expand the lead. Hagestad appeared to have several opportunities to extend his two-hole lead, but Costanza had another strong day chipping, which allowed him to get out of some tough situations and stay even with Hagestad.

“I don’t care how you win just go win,” Hagestad said. “I think everyone would agree this is the highest honor in mid-amateur golf and is one that everyone circles on their calendar. It is one that means a lot to me and to have my name on that trophy twice along with the names of some of the greatest players of all time is so special. I am over the moon right now and candidly pretty speechless.”

It was hole 13 where Costanza officially put Hagestad on alert. Costanza cut it to a one-hole deficit after a cold-blooded 35-foot putt secured him the birdie.

The 16th hole appeared to be the one where Costanza was going to even the score. He hit a 15-foot putt for birdie that put Hagestad in a position where he needed to shoot his second birdie of the day in order to avoid falling into a tie match. But Hagestad nailed it and showed the proficient poise of a champion.

Costanza’s strong day can be put into perspective by pointing out that it wasn’t until the 17th and final hole of the Championship where Costanza lost his first hole of day two, shooting par while Hagestad drilled the most important five-foot putt of his life to win his second Mid-Am Championship.

Hagestad staring down his final putt of the championship (Photo by Holly Matteson Pagon)

“So I am looking on Twitter after and all of these people are saying this is taking forever what is he doing,” Hagestad said about his final putt. “And I’m like hey, hey, hey I’m sorry but this is an opportunity to go to one, possibly two majors are you kidding me? I am going to take my sweet ass time here. I was trying to really focus in and hit my best putt. I was thrilled it went in. I am honored and humbled.”

Hagestad, 30, earned the right to compete in his fourth U.S. Open next June in Brookline, Massachusetts and will likely earn an invitation to the 2022 Masters Tournament according to the United States Golf Association. The California native had to play 121 holes of match play this week to earn the championship, including a grueling 23-hole match against Stephen Behr Jr. in the Round of 16. His first Mid-Am Championship came in 2016.

Photo by Holly Matteson Pagon

Costanza meanwhile will now focus his attention towards enjoying the remainder of his honeymoon. He married his wife, Meredith, on September 18th and had her work as his caddy for the entirety of the tournament.

“Since we knew this was going to be the beginning of our honeymoon we figured we didn’t really want anyone else up here with us and wanted it to be just the two of us,” she said. “I have done this once or twice before in smaller tournaments when he has needed me to do it. We knew I would be the one to do the push cart.”

“We are flying out of here at 1:49 pm off to JFK (in New York) and then to Rome,” Costanza said. “I am looking forward to not having to touch a club for a few days.”

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