Hagestad, Hall invited to Walker Cup Practice Session
The USGA has announced that 16 golfers have been invited to a practice session for the 2017 Walker Cup at Los Angeles CC, the host of the 46th matches. Included on the exclusive list, which includes four USGA champions, are two accomplished golfers with ties to New York: Stewart Hagestad and Gavin Hall.
Hagestad, a New York City resident who hails from southern California, earned this invitation after a sensational 2016 season. He won the MGA Met Amateur at the CC of Fairfield this August, defeating Ethan Ng in a 38-hole final match. Then in September came an improbable victory at the U.S. Mid-Amateur over 2014 champ Scott Harvey, where he summoned birdies on five of the last six holes for a come-from-behind victory.
Hagestad made clear his desire to play in the Walker Cup at Los Angeles CC, where he is a member, in that final round match against Harvey, wearing a white 2017 Walker Cup hat.
Gavin Hall, a 22-year old senior at the University of Texas and Rochester native, is the current no. 19 ranked player on the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), the ninth highest ranked American on the list. His impressive 2016 includes two individual college wins at the John Burns Intercollegiate and The Maxwell, and an impressive run at the 2016 NCAA D1 National Championships. Hall finished T26 in stroke play, helping Texas attain the first seed in the eight-team match play final brackets. He won his matches in the semi and quarter finals 4&3, but lost in the finals against E. Yi of Oregon.
If chosen, Hall would be the first Walker Cup team member from New York since George Zahringer (New York City) competed with the 2003 team. He would be the first player from upstate New York since Tom Scherrer (Skaneateles) was selected for the 1991 team.
A notable absence from the invitational list is Derek Bard, the University of Virginia senior and New Hartford native, whose record includes a win at the 2015 Sunnehanna Amateur and a runner-up at the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship. Bard struggled after a T17 finish at the 2016 NCAA D1 Golf Championship, but has reason to be optimistic for a strong 2017 after top finishes this fall at the Carpet Capital Collegiate (T2) and the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate (T5).
Historically the USGA has announced selections for the final roster in two five-man groups; the first just before and the second just after the U.S. Amateur Championship, played August 14-20, 2017 at Riviera CC. The nation’s top amateur have nearly nine months of competitive golf remaining to either cement their place or earn a spot on the USA Walker Cup team.