The Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course is set to host a U.S. Open next summer, but it looked defenseless against one of the world’s best amateurs over the weekend.
Stewart Hagestad, the 31-year-old mid-amateur from Newport Beach, California, who is ranked eighth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, made easy work of one of his home layouts, firing an eye-popping 11-under 59 last Saturday.
Hagestad was coming off an early exit at the U.S. Mid-Amateur, where his bid to win back-to-back titles (and three overall) was ended in the Round of 16. Three days later, he joined some friends, which included his former college coach at USC, Kurt Schuette, for a casual round at LACC.
While the North Course tips out around 7,000 yards, Hagestad said he played it closer to 6,800 yards. He missed three eagle putts on the front nine while carding seven birdies and shooting 7-under 28. He added four more birdies on the back side, where he had 30 feet at the par-4 finishing hole for another birdie and a chance to shoot 58.
He nearly converted that one, too.
Still, the round bested Hagestad’s previous North Course personal record by three strokes.
While Hagestad still must qualify for next year's U.S. Open at LACC, it's hard not to think about his prospects should he do so. In addition to Saturday’s 59, Hagestad has two big victories on the North Course: last year’s George C. Thomas Invitational, one of the country’s premier mid-amateur championships, and the 2017 Walker Cup, where he scored the clinching point for the U.S. in his Walker Cup debut. (He’s since played in two more and figures to have a strong shot at a fourth Cup next September at St. Andrews.)
Hagestad has played in four previous U.S. Opens, including this past summer when he made his first cut at The Country Club. He already owns, by several means (2022 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist, top 50 WAGR, etc.), an exemption into next summer's final qualifying.