Sports

McNealy drops match at U.S. Amateur to familiar opponent

 

Portola Valley resident Maverick McNealy's quest to become the third player in Stanford history to capture the United States Amateur Championship came to an end Thursday afternoon at breezy Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois.

The Cardinal junior fell to American Walker Cup teammate Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis in the Round of 16, 3 and 2.

McNealy was attempting to join past Stanford winners Lawson Little in 1934-35 and Tiger Woods in 1994-96.

"I was very happy with how I competed out there, and I was very happy with how I handled the pressure and the nerves, and I kept things in perspective really well," McNealy said. "I know that I was just asking myself to give a perfect effort on every shot, and I did that, and I can't hang my head too much for doing everything I can and it not being enough. Now I've just got to figure out how I can get better, what I can do to improve so that next time when I do give everything I have, it is enough."

Earlier in the day, McNealy beat Maverick Antcliff of Augusta, Georgia, 5 and 4. He won four of the first six holes to earn an early 3-up lead. He won the par-4 first hole with a par, the par-4 third with a par, the par-4 fifth with a par, and the par-5 sixth with a birdie.

McNealy, who lost only one hole during the match and led throughout, extended his advantage to 4-up at the turn with a par at the par-4 ninth. He finished 1-under for 14 holes.

The meeting against SMU senior DeChambeau was the marquee match of the afternoon between the Northern California products. McNealy is the second-ranked amateur in the world and was the 2015 NCAA Player of the Year, while DeChambeau is ranked seventh and won the 2015 NCAA individual title.

Early on, the match went back and forth. McNealy won first hole with a nice birdie putt, but lost the second hole to a birdie. He won the third hole with a par, then lost the fourth to a birdie.

DeChambeau claimed the par-3 seventh hole with a par and never trailed again.

One down at the turn, McNealy won the par-4 10th with a par to square the match, then came a pivotal turning point.

On the par-4 11th, McNealy hit a nice approach shot about 20 feet below the pin, while DeChambeau missed the green to the right, catching the back fringe. DeChambeau rammed in his birdie putt and McNealy lipped out to fall 1-down.

DeChambeau increased his cushion to 2-up at 13 when McNealy three-putted for a bogey, then climbed to 3-up with a short birdie at 14. They halved the last two holes.

— Stanford Athletics

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