ERIN, Wis. — With a Deepdale Golf Club cap on his head and a wealth of big-time golf experience in his pocket, Stewart Hagestad had a heck of a day. He was calm enough to savor his first round in a U.S. Open, regardless of his score.
The 2016 U.S. mid-amateur champion, who plays out of the club in Manhasset, was relaxed because of having made it through the crucible of Augusta in April. He finished that pressure-filled week as low amateur in the Masters and was given the honor of sitting alongside green-jacketed Sergio Garcia in Butler Cabin. After that, nothing in his golf life will be the same, or seem as difficult.
“I think for this one, I felt a little bit more prepared. I didn’t play my best but I didn’t play that bad, either. A couple putts go in and the 77 turns into a 73 or 74,” he said after finishing 5 over at Erin Hills. “There were still butterflies, still a little bit of anticipation for it. But it was all good things. It was much, much different from Augusta. There was a lot going on then.”
He is from Newport Beach, Calif. (where he qualified for the Open) but lives in New York City because of a career in finance. He is a new member at Deepdale and said he always tries to represent the club well.
Na brushes off controversy
Kevin Na, who sparked controversy last weekend with an Instagram post criticizing the thick fescue, said he had been misinterpreted. “I’m just trying to have fun,” he said after having shot 4-under par 68.
“I was just trying to show how brutal it was,” he said. “Yes, the fairways are generous. If you read my post it says, ‘I like Erin Hills’ design, I think it’s a great golf course. But there are some spots where this fescue is unplayable.’ Some people took it the right way, some people didn’t.”
He hit into the fescue only once yesterday and just punched the ball out of it.