McNealy cards a 9-under 61 to win Pac-12 championship for Stanford
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Maverick McNealy tied a Stanford record with a 61 in the final round of the Pac-12 Conference Championships on Wednesday, earning himself medalist honors and catapulting the Cardinal to its second league title in as many years.
Stanford has now hoisted consecutive Pac-12 trophies for the first time in program history.
Stanford (362-348-346-340) was 4-under as a unit at the par-70 Palouse Ridge Golf Club, overcoming a 9-shot deficit heading into the final round to win by a 14-stroke margin against Oregon (plus-10). Arizona State led after the third round and finished third at 11-over.
The Cardinal was sixth after the opening round, tied for third after the second round and trailed only Arizona State by nine shots heading into the final circuit.
“It was a team effort today,” said Knowles Family Director of Men's Golf Conrad Ray. “It took six guys today and all of our guys contributed throughout the week, so really proud of the results and happy for them.”
“I knew we had our hands full with Arizona State. They’ve got a really good team and they’ve won a lot this year and they’ve got some really good players. And to be able to track them down and be able to actually have a little bit of a lead coming down the stretch at 18 was a relief.
“Our guys got off to a really good start today. That’s something we talked about last night. We knew that the wind was probably going to be in the opposition direction, which was a unique situation. We had that wind in the practice round and I think it really changes some golf holes, so we talked a lot about our strategy and where we wanted to leave our misses, and it paid off.”
McNealy’s bogey-free round put him at 18-under for the 72-hole event, 10 shots clear of second-place Aaron Wise of Oregon. The 61 came after previous posts of 65-68-68, and tied the single-round school record shared by Tiger Woods and Cameron Wilson. It also set the collegiate course record at Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
It was an NCAA-best fifth win on the season for McNealy, who copped the program's 22nd individual league title and third since 2012.
“The gameplan for the start of the day was to be patient and to press my advantage when I got it,” McNealy said. “It felt great from the get-go. I was thinking pedal to the metal, because obviously our team was in it and I didn’t really matter how the individual thing was shaking out anymore, but I wanted to get more birdies to help the team.”
McNealy had 24 birdies and an eagle during the 72-hole event. He did not record a bogey during his last 30 holes, even while playing through consistent wind gusts eclipsing 20 miles per hour.
McNealy’s 262 strokes to win the individual crown set a Pac-12 Championships scoring record. Arizona State’s Paul Casey needed 265 strokes to win back-to-back crowns in 1999 and 2000.
Franklin Huang (73-70-67-71) tied for 11th, David Boote (75-69-69-70) tied for 15th and Viraat Badhwar (75-70-74-68) tied for 26th. Team captain Patrick Grimes (74-71-74-72) tied for 40th and Jeffrey Swegle, who was disqualified in the opening round, contributed scores of 72-68-70.