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August 17, 2010 > Fremont golfer ready for big event

Fremont golfer ready for big event

By Kevin Yin

Woods, Nicklaus and McClung?

Hey, it could happen.

During a qualifier tournament at Santa Cruz on July 26, Mac McClung qualified for the 2010 U.S. Amateur golf championship. The U.S. Amateur tournament has been previously won by some of the sport's most renowned luminaries, including Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

"I'm pumped. Pumped. It's awesome," said McClung. "Everyone I've talked to has been so excited. You've got to play really well [to qualify], and it's nice to actually finally play well in a tournament that counts."

A native of Fremont and a graduate of Irvington High School, McClung is currently a sophomore at St. Mary's College and plays for the Gaels' golf team. McClung narrowly failed to qualify for U.S. Amateur last summer, and he's quick to credit others for his improved performance.

"I just started working with Mike Mulhearn over at Fremont Park Golf Center about two years ago now, and that's really helped me a lot with consistency and making sure I'm hitting good," McClung said. "My college coach, Scott Hardy, he's a great player on his own, and he's really stepped my short game up a lot from where it was the beginning of the year."

McClung also believes that his game has benefited from the constant exposure to tough competition that playing on a college team has provided-competition he didn't find growing up in Fremont.

"We've got eight other guys on the team who can all play, and you're fighting for a spot every week," McClung said. "I'd definitely say that's made me better too; having to play well every time you go out. In high school, it's getting better in the MVAL for sure, competition wise, but it's not anywhere near where it is in other places in the East Bay."

Although he freely admits that the U.S. Amateur Championship will be the biggest event he will have yet played, McClung admits to no extra trepidation.

"You know, I can't say I do [feel intimidated]. Playing in college a lot helped me with that," McClung said. "Like last year, I was definitely intimidated going to the playoffs and stuff. This year, I know I'm good enough. If I play well, I can go far in that tournament."

As far as special preparation goes, McClung's prescription is pretty simple.

"Just to remind myself to relax and have fun. That's my biggest problem. When I do that, I play well."

The U.S. Amateur Championship begins on Aug. 23 and will be played at Chambers Bay in Washington.

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