It has been a big year for Stanford freshman Maverick McNealy. The 18-year-old from Portola Valley helped the Cardinal to a highly successful season that ended in the NCAA semifinals last week. That, however, did not mark the end of his season.
Stanford freshman Maverick McNealy qualified for the 114th U.S. Open on Monday. Photo by John Todd/isiphotos.com
"It's something I've wanted to do my whole life. It's still sinking in," McNealy said. "I knew I just had to play okay. Aggressive swings to conservative targets, as my coaches say. I put myself in good positions to avoid the big numbers."
McNealy shot a 5-under 67 in the morning round of sectional qualifying at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, tying him for the lead with PGA Tour veteran Alex Cejka. McNealy shot a second-round 69 at the Olympic Club's Ocean Course in the afternoon.
McNealy earned one of five qualifying spots in the field of 110. It was the only sectional qualifying tournament in California.
Cejka, who played in his first U.S. Open 17 years ago, earned medalist honors with an 11-under 132.
McNealy, who played in the shadows of teammates Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson this season, accomplished something Wilson wasn't able to do. Wilson, the NCAA individual champion, missed qualifying for the U.S. Open by one stroke in his tournament in Purchase, N.Y. He will be the first alternate out of that sectional.
Rodgers, meanwhile, didn't advance out of a local qualifying tournament held earlier in Carmel.
McNealy posted three top-10 finishes during the collegiate season and was named to the Pac-12 Conference All-Freshman Team.