No. 1-ranked McNealy in 23-for-8 playoff at U.S. Am


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A pair of 5-foot putts Tuesday will at least give top-ranked Maverick McNealy a chance to prolong his U.S. Amateur. 

The Stanford senior bounced back from a poor opening round to shoot 1-under 69 on the easier North Course at Oakland Hills. He made the cut on the number at 2-over 142.

When he finished his round, he was tied for 92nd. By the end of the day, he was tied for 57th, set for a 23-for-8 playoff beginning at 8 a.m. ET off Oakland Hills’ 10th hole.

Also included in the playoff are Sammy Schmitz and Scott Harvey, the past two U.S. Mid-Amateur champions, and three of McNealy's former teammates at Stanford.

“If I get into a playoff, I’m feeling pretty confident," McNealy said. "The way I played the last 27 holes, and the last nine especially, was really good.”

It’s been a quiet summer for McNealy, who took about a month off after losing nearly 15 pounds and being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. He finished 20th at the Trans-Miss Amateur in his first start back, then tied for 67th at the Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. 

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When asked if there was any competitive rust during an opening-round 73 on the South Course, McNealy admitted: “A little bit. I hadn’t hit a lot of shots under pressure. I’m not exactly sure why I got off to such a slow start.”

A cold putter didn’t help. McNealy three-putted three of his first five holes Monday and wasn’t much better in the second round, though he rolled in a 5-footer for birdie on 15 and a similar-length putt for par on 17, after getting up and down from about 70 yards.

McNealy changed his putting routine halfway through his second round, taking a few strokes behind the ball instead of next to it in order to see the line better. “Every putt I hit on the back nine had a chance,” he said.