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 Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae.
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.