June 2, 2014
Junior Tour of Northern California alum Maverick McNealy is headed to the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
McNealy, who just wrapped up his freshman season at Stanford, earned a berth in the national championship by posting a score of 7-under 136 in Monday’s 36-hole U.S. Open Sectional qualifier held at par-71 Olympic Club (Ocean Course) and par-72 Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City. He’d card a 67 at Lake Merced and a 69 at Olympic Club.
There were five spots available in the Daly City qualifier, which was the only sectional held in the Golden State.
McNealy, an 18-year-old Portola Valley resident who was a runner-up at the 2012 NCGA Junior Championship, finished in third place, four shots behind medalist Alex Cejka, who shot 11-under 132.
“It’s awesome. It’s a great day” said McNealy, whose scorecards featured two eagles, seven birdies, 23 pars and four bogeys. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. It’s still sinking in.”
In his first season as a Cardinal, McNealy was named to the 2014 Pacific-12 Conference All-Freshman Team. He advanced to the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinals and reached the second round last year. Growing up, he was a defenseman for the San Jose Junior Sharks, an AAU ice hockey team that captured two state titles.
McNealy admitted there were some butterflies in his stomach coming down the stretch. But he just listened to his coaches—in his head.
“I knew I just had to play okay. Aggressive swings to conservative targets, as my coaches say,” McNealy said. “I put myself in good positions to avoid the big numbers.”
Cejka, born in Czechoslovakia, secured his berth by carding a 67 at Lake Merced and a 65 Olympic Club. He has zero wins in 271 starts on the PGA Tour but has four wins on the European PGA Tour. Now 43 years old, Cejka left Czechoslovakia with his parents as a refugee at the age of nine.
“I’m thrilled. Every major is great, especially when you have to qualify 36-holes like this”, said Cejka, who shrugged at the pressure, carding 11 birdies and 25 pars with no bogeys. “It’s difficult. It’s challenging, especially in these conditions. I figured I have to play aggressive, and I played great today.”
Players were greeted with cold weather that lasted throughout the day, leading most to play with a beanie cap over their heads.
Also moving on was New Zealand native Steven Alker. Alker, a journeyman who’s been on and off the PGA Tour, finished second at 8-under 135. He’d shoot a 70 at Olympic Club and a day-low, bogey free 65 at Lake Merced that included seven birdies.
Alker’s last win came at the 2013 Utah Championship on the Web.com Tour.
The two final spots went to PGA Tour veteran Kevin Sutherland and amateur Brian Campbell of Irvine, who came in at 6-under 137. Sutherland recently received a special exemption from qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, as he turns 50 on July 4, six days before the championship. The Sacramento native has played in nine U.S. Opens, tying for 67th at Merion last year.
The first alternate is Craig Barlow who finished alone in sixth place at 5-under 138. The second alternate came down to a playoff between four players.
Notable players who failed to advance included Jason Gore, who shot 141 (74 at Lake Merced, 67 at Olympic).
Gore, who has competed in four U.S. Opens, was looking for a shot at redemption. He played in the final group with Retief Goosen at the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but an 84 on Sunday dropped him into a tie for 49th.
Santa Cruz resident Cory McElyea, the defending California State Amateur who made it through Sectional qualifying to compete at Merion Golf Club last year, also was unable to advance, shooting 140 (68 at Olympic Club, 72 at Lake Merced). McElyea earned All-West Coast Conference honors at the University of San Francisco this year.
NCGA legend Casey Boyns, 58, of Monterey also came up short, shooting 150 (74 Lake Merced, 76 Olympic Club). The longtime Pebble Beach Golf Links caddie is a member of the California Golf Hall of Fame and is a two-time winner of the California State Amateur (1989, 1993).
The NCGA had 50-plus volunteers over both qualifying sites conducting live scoring and rules officiating. Most of the volunteers have gone through rigorous Rules training and are Rules certified under the NCGA system.
May 30, 2014
What will be the only U.S. Open Sectional qualifier in the Golden State tees off Monday morning at two of Northern California’s best venues– Lake Merced Golf Club and The Olympic Club (Ocean Course).
Known as ‘Golf’s Longest Day’, there’ll be 110 players in the field in the 36-hole tournament. And they’ll all be fighting for a precious ticket to the championship proper, set for June 12-15 at Pinehurst. Here’s a quick look at some of those in the field.
- Casey Boyns, 58, of Monterey, Calif., has caddied at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links for 30 years. He is a member of the California Golf Hall of Fame and has won two state amateurs (1989, 1993). Boyns was a 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist.
- Jeff Brehaut, of Los Altos, Calif., has played on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour. Brehaut, who celebrates his 51st birthday on June 13, tied for 23rd in the 2013 U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club and will attempt to qualify again this year. Brehaut has played in two U.S. Opens and tied for 17th in 2007.
- David Byrne, of Canada, won Golf Channel’s Big Break Indian Wells in 2011. He was named 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year as a member of the University of Detroit-Mercy team.
- Brian Campbell, of Irvine, Calif., shared medalist honors in U.S. Open local qualifying at Illini Country Club. Campbell, a junior on the University of Illinois team, was named the 2014 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year. Scott Langley (2010) and Luke Guthrie (2012) also earned the conference’s top award as Illinois golfers, and both played in the 2013 U.S. Open.
- Garrett Chaussard, of Chicago, is a PGA instructor at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club who has played on the Canadian and Gateway Tours. Chaussard, a quarterfinalist at the 2000 U.S. Junior Amateur, advanced to the 2008 U.S. Open out of both local and sectional qualifying. Chaussard attended Junipero Serra High School, the same Northern California school that produced Tom Brady and Barry Bonds.
- John Chin, of Temecula, Calif., competes on the Web.com Tour and always marks his ball with a quarter from the 1960s. He was the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up and played in the 2008 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2.
- Zecheng Dou, 17, of the People’s Republic of China, advanced to the quarterfinals of both the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Junior Amateur. In 2012, he became the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the Volvo China Open, a European Tour event, and eventually tied for 33rd. Dou tied for fourth at the 2013 Asia-Pacific Amateur.
- Jason Gore, 40, has competed in four U.S. Opens. He played in the final group with Retief Goosen on Sunday in the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, but an 84 dropped him into a tie for 49th. He was a member of the winning 1997 USA Walker Cup Team.
- Brandon Hagy, of Westlake Village, Calif., is a two-time All-American at the University of California-Berkeley. Hagy, who was a semifinalist in the 2012 U.S. Amateur, has been named to the All-Pacific 12 Conference squad three times.
- Cory McElyea, of Santa Cruz, Calif., advanced to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club through local and sectional qualifying. He was one of 10 amateurs to advance to the championship field. McElyea earned All-West Coast Conference honors at the University of San Francisco this year.
- Maverick McNealy, 18, of Portola Valley, Calif., was named to the 2014 Pacific-12 Conference All-Freshman Team as a member of the Stanford squad. He advanced to the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinals and reached the second round last year. McNealy was a defenseman for the San Jose Junior Sharks, an AAU ice hockey team that captured two state titles.
- Michael Miles, 52, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has played in two U.S. Opens (1987, 2009). A 1981 U.S. Amateur Public Links quarterfinalist, Miles was the assistant pro at Virginia Country Club, in Long Beach, Calif., for 22 years.
- Todd Miller, 34, is the son of 1973 U.S. Open champion and NBC-TV golf analyst Johnny Miller. Todd is the director of golf operations and associate head coach for the men’s and women’s programs at Brigham Young University.
- Jack Newman, of Des Moines, Iowa, won the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He tied for 65th at the 2009 Masters Tournament. Newman, an All-Big Ten Conference selection at Michigan State University, competes on the PGA Tour Canada.
- Mike Springer, 48, of Fresno, Calif., has played in three U.S. Opens, with his last start in 1995 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Springer has won twice on the PGA Tour and four times on the Nationwide Tour (now Web.com).
- Kevin Sutherland recently received a special exemption from qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, as he turns 50 on July 4, six days before the championship. Sutherland has played in nine U.S. Opens and tied for 67th last year at Merion Golf Club.
- Derek Tolan, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., played in the 2002 U.S. Open at age 16, having made a 50-foot birdie chip on the first playoff hole at sectional qualifying to advance to Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. Tolan later qualified for the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links. He was an honorable mention All-American at the University of Colorado.