Stewart Hagestad acknowledges that his post-round interviews these days sound like a broken record as he extolls the virtues of the “kids” who share the leaderboard with him at top amateur golf events.
But the elder statesman is still on top.
Hagestad rebounded from a rocky start to post a 6-under-par 66 on Friday at Berkeley Hall Club and holds a five-shot lead at the midway point of the 20th annual Players Amateur.
After breaking the Berkeley Hall South Course record with a round of 11-under 61 in Thursday’s opening round, Hagestad was 2-over through five holes Friday before a birdie at the par-5 17th jumpstarted his round. He reeled off four straight birdies starting at No. 1 and added three more coming in to maintain a healthy lead going into the weekend.
But one look at the other names on the leaderboard is plenty to remind the 28-year-old Hagestad that his job is far from finished.
“Everyone in the field is so good, everyone is so talented,” Hagestad said. “You look down the leaderboard and everyone is a total stud and they are going to play an awful lot of weekends in their future.”
Georgia Southern All-American Steven Fisk is five shots back after carding his second straight round of 66, while top-ranked Chun An “Kevin” Yu of Arizona State is among a trio at 11-under along with Arizona’s David Laskin and Ohio State’s Will Grimmer.
Defending champion John Augenstein of Vanderbilt shot 70 on Friday and is tied for 46th at 2-under along with Hilton Head Island native Andrew Orischak (Virginia), who leads the strong local contingent.
There’s plenty at stake this weekend, as many of the players atop the leaderboard are chasing spots on the United States Walker Cup team in September — not to mention an invitation to the 2020 RBC Heritage for the winner.
The field will be cut to the low 40 players and ties following Saturday’s third round, which gets underway at 7:30 a.m. The event is open to the public and admission is free.
For scores and tee times visit playersam.com.