Wednesday marked a momentous occasion for both star Harker golfer Maverick McNealy, grade 12, and the Harker athletics program, as McNealy signed a letter of intent to attend Stanford University and compete in its golf program.
Surrounded by family, friends and faculty at Nichols Hall, McNealy received enthusiastic cheers and applause after signing the agreement.
“I’m very excited and I’m very thankful for this opportunity,” McNealy said. “I’m thinking I might play professionally. It depends on how I play in college and where I stack up against the other best golfers in the country. But the great thing about going to Stanford is that I know I’m going to get a great education, and that’s always something to fall back on if professional golf isn’t what I want to do.”
“We’re so proud of Maverick,” said Harker golf coach Ie-Chen Cheng. “This is our first golf signing, and no less, it’s Stanford, which is a very prestigious golf program.”
McNealy, who in July reached the final eight at USGA’s Junior Amateur Championship, is looking forward to making golf an important part of his time at Stanford. “I’ve only been playing golf pretty much half the year, for basically my whole life,” he said. “When I go to college I will be playing year-round, and we’ll see where that takes me with that actual level of practice and playing, and hopefully I play really well.”
Later in the summer, he won the Silver Creek Valley Junior and narrowly missed the semifinals at the Northern California Golf Association’s Amateur Match Play Championship.
“He was for the most part under the radar, but he really excelled during the summer,” Cheng said, adding that the young but disciplined senior “never complains. When he has a bad day, he’s the type of player who will go back to practice, go back to the range and work on his game and figure it out.”
McNealy was later mentioned on the Stanford athletics website in a story about the golf program’s letter of intent signings.
“There’s no doubt he’s a very, very talented golfer,” said Dan Molin, Harker athletics director. “I’ve embarrassed myself on the course with him. He was very patient with me and he’s a phenomenal kid.”