With a potential breakthrough PGA Tour victory well within reach as he stood on Pebble Beach’s 18th tee on Sunday, Maverick McNealy relished in the moment.
“I love being under pressure because you get the adrenaline pumping and you can hit shots that you can't hit under normal circumstances,” McNealy said. “I knew my heart was racing and I had a lot of adrenaline pumping on 18, so I just made sure I used it.”
McNealy proceeded to smash a drive 278 yards on a perfect line, dangerously close to the rocks, and leave himself just 230 yards in. He followed that with a beautiful 3-iron – and equally pretty club twirl – to 22 feet.
And though he ended up making birdie and finishing two shots back of winner Daniel Berger, the 25-year-old Stanford grad proved yet again that he is mature beyond his years.
“I've always been a guy that has to earn my own confidence,” said McNealy, who is projected to climb to No. 126 in the world rankings after his best career finish on Tour. “I can't stand there and just tell myself I'm good at something or I'm doing something right. I have to earn it with myself too. I feel like I earned a lot of confidence this week.”