This article first published in Harker News Online on Oct. 8, 2019
Maverick McNealy ’13 gave notice early on that he would be a force on the Harker golf team and his outstanding play and conversion to a pro put him front and center to be inducted into Harker’s Athletic Hall of Fame this Saturday before the Homecoming game.
In March 2010, as a freshman, McNealy turned out the lowest scores for two of the team’s first three matches. The team qualified for CCS regionals for the first time in school history and finished eighth. McNealy qualified for CCS individuals and finished in the top 10, qualifying as an alternate to the NorCal championships.
The following season McNealy, then a sophomore, qualified for the CCS championships for the second year in a row, placing 44th of 64 in that event.
In his junior year, when the team beat Crystal Springs and Pinewood to earn a 6-1 record, McNealy “continue(d) to blister the competition shooting a 33 and 31,” according to Harker News. It was indeed a banner year for him as he took second place at the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying golf tournament then went on to make the final eight at the USGA Junior Amateur Championship. McNealy won the WBAL title and The Mercury News also named him as a member of its boys golf first team.
Finally, just before his senior year at Harker, he made the quarterfinals of the Northern California Golf Association’s Amateur Match Play Championship and won the Silver Creek Valley Junior tournament. Following these remarkable showings, in November, McNealy signed a letter of intent to play golf for Stanford University.
But golf was not McNealy’s only game. He played hockey for the Junior Sharks for years, captaining the team at least one year, and also played soccer for Harker in his senior year. Harker News tells us he scored in at least two games, so his skills extend beyond the links to the pitch and rink.
In his senior year, McNealy continued to amaze, once again winning the WBAL individual title, being named to the Mercury News’ first team and ending his high school career by tying for fourth place at the CCS championships.
Of course, McNealy rose to greater heights as he grew as a golfer. He made the traveling squad at Stanford in his freshman year and was named to the Pac-12 Conference All-Freshman Team. He qualified for the U.S. Open, the first Harker alumnus to do so. The Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner all published articles featuring McNealy’s qualification.
In 2015, his trajectory continued. He won the Haskins Award as the top college linksman and was the 2015 Division I recipient of the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award.
An article posted at www.Nicklaus.com noted McNealy’s accomplishments that year:
“A sophomore from Portola Valley, Calif., McNealy led NCAA Division I with six collegiate victories this year. He posted a dominant 10-stroke win at the Pac-12 Conference Championships, where his 18-under aggregate score of 262 established a new league tournament scoring record. The Pac-12 Conference player owns a 69.05 season scoring average, the second best in recorded NCAA history. McNealy claimed medalist honors at the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, Southwestern Intercollegiate, Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, The Prestige at PGA West and The Goodwin. McNealy was selected to compete this summer on the United States Palmer Cup team.”
In late August 2016, before beginning his senior year at Stanford, McNealy won the McCormack Medal as the top-ranked amateur golfer in the world. That award automatically qualified him for the 2017 U.S. and British Open championships. A few months later, he was named the male amateur athlete of the year by the San Jose Sports Authority Hall of Fame.
By spring 2017, McNealy was a true star in the golf world. In April, he was ranked No. 1 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, tied with Tiger Woods on the Stanford all-time wins list, and received the 2017 Byron Nelson Award. Only graduating seniors are eligible for the award, and a golfer’s entire collegiate and academic career, plus his integrity and character, are considered when selecting the winner.
A month later, after being nominated for the third time, McNealy received The Ben Hogan Award, given annually to the top men’s college golfer. Colonial Country Club, Friends of Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America take into account all collegiate and amateur competitions over the last year when selecting finalists.
By that time the speculation was red hot on whether or not McNealy would turn pro or start a business career with the degree in management science and engineering he earned at Stanford. In October 2017, following graduation, McNealy ended the speculation when he signed a promo deal with Callaway Golf and started his pro career.
This August, McNealy reached a new milestone in his career when he was handed his PGA tour card by placing in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour.
McNealy also has committed to raising funds for education. This season, his Birdies for Education campaign is supporting Curriki, an organization helping to lower the cost of education by providing free educational materials online. He has raised $400,000 so far. Read more here.
Founded in 2018, The Harker School Athletic Hall of Fame honors those who have made outstanding contributions to its athletic program. Candidates for selection exemplified desirable character traits during their years at Harker and beyond, and have distinguished themselves in competition representing Harker, their college or at the professional level. Candidates may also be non-graduates who, through long service to Harker, have distinguished themselves in the field of athletics.
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