Scott Harvey just won the George L. Coleman Invitational at famed Seminole Golf Club. Yes – the photo above is of Stewart Hagestad and Harvey shaking hands after Hagestad’s historic come-from-behind win at the U.S. Mid-Am late last year. So, what’s the connection?
Scott Harvey won the 2014 U.S. Mid-Am Championship, earning him a spot into the most exclusive and coveted field in golf (especially for an amateur) – The Masters. Harvey missed the cut, but made the next year’s U.S. Walker Cup team under Spider Miller. The team had a rough time on European soil, losing 16.5 – 9.5. Not the result Harvey wanted, surely, but he was now competing in the upper-echelon of amateur golf competition.
The 2016 George C. Thomas Invitational was held at L.A.C.C. (North) in June. Club member and brand-new Mid-Amateur competitor, Stewart Hagestad, caught leader Harvey in the final round to send it to a three hole aggregate playoff. After finishing the playoff tied, Harvey took the title on the first sudden-death hole with a tap-in birdie. Miller, who will reprise his role as Walker Cup Captain in 2017, was there watching.
Fast forward a few months later to the 2016 U.S. Mid-Am Championship. I played in my first USGA Championship, shooting 81-80 to miss the cut for the match-play portion. Highlights included eating dinner at the banquet with 4-time Mid-Am Champ Nathan Smith, briefly meeting Hagestad, and playing with local and USGA amateur legend Chip Lutz. Anyway, enough about me.
Hagestad and Harvey meet in the final. Well, they met before the final – specifically the night before to have dinner.
Hours later, Hagestad, 4 down with 5 to play, makes 4 birdies coming in to send it to sudden-death. Then, he birdies the first playoff hole to beat the 2014 Champ. Historic.
Hagestad earned his Masters invite for April 2017, and became the first Mid-Am Champ to ever make the cut – finishing with low-am honors to boot.
That brings us back to the 2017 George L. Coleman Invite that happened just a few days ago at Donald Ross’ classic – Seminole G.C. Guess who led after the first round? Both Harvey and Hagestad – firing 1-under rounds of 71. Hagestad took the 36-hole lead after a 3-under 69 put him two shots clear of Harvey. On day 3, Harvey rallied to capture the title, 1 shot ahead of the runner-ups and 2 shots ahead of Hagestad, who dropped to 4th place. It was an emotional victory for Harvey, whose late father, Bill, won the Senior division of the Coleman in back-to-back years in the early nineties.
So what’s next? Well, both are gunning to make the 2017 Walker Cup team under Miller. But, in early April, the USGA changed the “2-Mid-Am-minimun” rule that was instated for the 2013 and 2015 teams. The USGA is now only committed to having 1 Mid-Am on the team, with the possibility of more playing their way on.
Things, however, are looking good for another year of multiple Mid-Ams making an appearance. Miller is very familiar with the duo and has watched them closely over the last couple of years. Their recent form and friendship that transcends the competition will make them a formidable team for the home squad.
Oh – and you know what else helps their chances? The 2017 Walker Cup will be played at L.A.C.C. (North).