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Shriners notebook: Nothing but positives for McNealy

Updated October 9, 2022 - 7:16 pm

Maverick McNealy came out of the gate quickly Sunday and looked like he might be the player from back in the pack to put some pressure on the leaders at the Shriners Children’s Open.

But after birdies on seven of his first 11 holes, McNealy stalled on the stretch of TPC Summerlin he calls Birdie Alley, ultimately finishing with a 7-under 64 and a tie for 10th at 17 under.

McNealy is only focused on the positives from the round and the week.

“I just shot 7 under. I’m pretty happy,” said McNealy, who led the field in putting for the week by a large margin. “I did a lot of really good things. It’s really easy to focus on the negatives, but I did a lot of things really, really well. I drove it great today. This is probably the best I’ve hit it for 18 holes, so it’s all really positive and I can’t wait to play again next week.”

As for playing Birdie Alley, holes 13 through 16, in just 1 under, McNealy had a simple explanation.

“Golf is hard, and the PGA Tour sets it up to be really challenging,” he said.

McNealy is on the short list of the best players on tour without a win, but the Las Vegas resident said it will come in due time.

“Wins will happen. There’s so much out of your control to make a win happen, so you just have to stick to the process,” he said. “I made a big step today, so whether I win next week or 10 years from now, I’m now one day closer.”

Fitting ending

Good friends and former UNLV teammates Taylor Montgomery and Harry Hall had a fitting ending to their Shriners Children’s Open, both finishing at 15 under in a tie for 15th.

The two played apart for the first time all week Sunday, and Hall went out early and posted one of the low rounds of the day, a bogey-free 7-under 64. Montgomery got off to a rough start, three-putting from five feet for double bogey on No. 3, but rallied for a 4-under 67.

“I drove it really well today,” Hall said. “I hit a few more fairways and holed a few more putts from 10 to 20 feet. That was the difference. I’ve been pretty close all week, but yeah, just to roll one in and not to make any bogeys today was nice.”

Avoiding temptation

While there certainly are exceptions, player after player this week have said staying away from the Strip has been high on their list.

“Every year this has been played that I’ve been here, I’ve never gone to the Strip,” Cam Davis said earlier in the week. “I’m not going down there. If I was back here outside of the tournament, I might explore, but this is a work week, and I’ve got to make sure I keep my head in the game.”

That was a common theme among players, many using that exact phrase “work week” when asked.

Patrick Rodgers had a more direct explanation.

“I understand those casinos were built for a reason, and I don’t like playing losing games,” Rodgers said. “I’ll trust myself on the golf course.”

Tour loyalty

Kevin Streelman is the type of player the rival LIV Golf tour has been picking off from the PGA Tour: 43 years old, on the back side of his career, a couple of wins under his belt. But Streelman isn’t interested.

“The PGA Tour, I feel loyal to them. I feel indebted to them,” he said. “I look at what they’ve done for day care, for an example, what they’ve done for our retirement situation, what they’ve done for the ability to travel the world and chase our dreams. Like I just feel loyal to that.”

Streelman has been close to the situation as a former member of the tour’s Player Advisory Council. But he says he’ll stick with the PGA Tour as long as he can, then move to the Champions Tour when he turns 50.

“I felt fortunate at this stage of my career there wasn’t a decision to be made,” he said of LIV. “I got an email, but I didn’t even pursue it.”

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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