There will be a little bit of a side-game going on for at least the first two days of this U.S. Open between two good friends and two of the best amateurs in the field — Stewart Hagestad and Matt Parziale.
Hagestad was the winner of the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and that got him into the 2017 Masters. He then successfully went through qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, just as he did for this tournament earlier this month. He’s set for his first-round tee time on Thursday with Lucas Herbert and Brian Stuard at 2:20 p.m.
Parziale won the 2017 U.S. Mid-Am, which got him into this year’s Masters, and by way of the USGA changing the rules over the winter, he also was given an exemption into the field for this week. He will tee off on Thursday with Trey Mullinex and Jason Scrivener at 6:56 a.m.
One might think that Hagestad would be upset he missed the new rule by one year. But getting into the U.S. Open the hard way again has made that far easier to accept.
“Maybe at the time, yeah. Not now. Now I’m totally cool with it,” Hagestad told The Post on Wednesday. “I mean, shoot, I’d rather tell people I qualified twice.”
Hagestad, 27, is from California but also has ties to the New York area, playing out Deepdale on Long Island. Parziale, 31, has a little bit of a different background, being a firefighter back in Brockton, Mass.
But they both play in the same type of amateur tournaments around the country, and they both want to beat each other this week — with a spot on the 2019 U.S. Walker Cup team also a priority.
“I hope I take first and he comes in second this week,” Hagestad said. “It’s competing against one of your close friends.”
Despite some wet weather on Wednesday, by late afternoon Accuweather had said that only .20 inches of rain had fallen on Southampton, a negligible number in terms of significantly altering the golf course. That is especially true for Shinnecock, built on very sandy soil that drains well.
“Unfortunately, we got a little bit of rain earlier, maybe some this afternoon, but I don’t think it’s going to have too big of an effect on how the course will play,” Rickie Fowler said.
The USGA had a celebration for the inaugural U.S. Women’s Senior Open, to be held in July at the historic Chicago Golf Club, one of the five founding members of the USGA, along with Shinnecock.
“The event is a long time in coming,” said Amy Alcott, a five-time major champion. “I want to thank the USGA for stepping up to the plate way before the #MeToo comments were ever made and making this a reality.”