Hagy survives in first round of match play

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – There won’t be a repeat winner this year at the U.S. Amateur, nor will there be a return trip to the finals for runner-up Michael Weaver.

In fact, the only semifinalist from last year’s event at Cherry Hills who is still in contention for the title here is Cal senior Brandon Hagy, who needed 19 holes to defeat Ricardo Gouveia on Wednesday at The Country Club.

Last year, Hagy was overtaken in the semifinals by surprise winner Steven Fox, who used a late rally to prevent an all-Cal final. Even though he fell short of the final match, Hagy said he came away from the event with a much-needed boost of confidence.

“I knew then that I could compete with the best in the world,” Hagy said. “I had a good year until that point, but my run last year really told me that I could compete.”

The long-hitting Hagy looked like he’d be heading home early on Wednesday, after he skipped a wedge shot over the green on the 17th. But he sank a slippery 8-footer to keep the match all square, halved the 18th with par after Gouveia drained a 25-footer down the slope, and won on the first extra hole after a two-putt par.

“It’s a format that I like and excel at,” Hagy said. “I’m a good match-play player, and I just keep telling myself that.”