The former home run champion followed his opening-round 82 with a 6-over 76 Thursday, missing the cut in the stroke-play portion by 15 strokes. The field of 156 was trimmed to 64.
'I feel like I'm a baby in all of this,' said the 40-year-old, who quit playing baseball after the 2001 season.
McGwire gave the fans at the Point O' Woods Golf and Country Club course one reason to cheer.
On the 216-yard, par-3 11th, McGwire was long off the tee after choosing the wrong club.
'I went with a 4-iron and I really thought the wind was going to be a factor,' he said.
McGwire winced and slumped after he saw the tee shot land beyond the green in the rough. But his 85-foot chip circled the hole and dropped in for a birdie. For the first time in the tournament, McGwire jumped in the air and pumped both fists after the shot dropped.
'I got lucky with my good old 9-iron,' he said.
One of McGwire's playing partners, Kyle Kisner, said the former St. Louis Cardinals slugger 'had the worst luck all day.'
'He was just great to play with, a real gentleman,' said Kisner, a junior at Georgia. 'We talked about baseball and everything. He told some great stories.'
Kisner qualified for match play at 139.
McGwire enjoyed his time hanging out with the amateurs.
'I can learn so much from these guys,' he said. 'Their talent and their patience.'
One of McGwire's biggest problems again was his putting. He three-putted several times but he finished strong on the greens, saving par on No. 18 with a 14-foot putt.
'I finally got one to drop,' McGwire said.
McGwire said he will return to the Western Amateur next year if invited.
'I can tell you one thing,' McGwire said. 'If they invite me back again next year, I'll be even better.'
Nathan Smith, of Soquel, Calif., shot a 66 Thursday and finished as medalist with a 134 total.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.