ATLANTA — Defending champion Stewart Hagestad was eliminated on the first day of match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur on Tuesday by a salesman playing in his first USGA championship.
Dusty Drenth, a 29-year-old from Davenport, Iowa, was two down through six holes on the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club but then won four out of the next five to pull ahead. Playing aggressively off the tee, he closed out Hagestad on the 17th hole for a 3-and-1 victory.
It was a rare lowlight this year for Hagestad, who was low amateur at the Masters, qualified for the U.S. Open and played on the winning U.S. Walker Cup team.
“He kept hitting it 10 yards further than me and kept hitting fairways. It’s awfully tough to get the [tee] box back,” said Hagestad, a 26-year-old from Newport Beach, California.
Stroke-play medalist Bradford Tilley advanced to the round of 32 with a 3-and-2 victory over Draegen Majors.
The winner of the Mid-Amateur, a championship for players 25 or older, gets an invitation to the Masters.