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Maverick McNealy has been a full-timer on the PGA Tour for four years now, but he hasn’t yet notched his first professional victory with more than 100 starts under his belt. It’s not as if he hasn’t gotten close. The Stanford graduate has recorded two runner-up finishes in his career. One came in September 2021 at the Fortinet Championship, and the other came seven months earlier at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the site of this week’s stop on the PGA Tour schedule.

The latter had to have been more difficult for McNealy to overcome — not only because it came in his home state of California, but also because of the unlucky penalty he was assessed in the third round for accidentally causing the ball to move an inch.

This week’s tournament at Pebble Beach will be a golden opportunity for McNealy to avenge that loss and pick up his first PGA Tour victory.

Maverick McNealy’s most haunting loss came at Pebble Beach in 2021

At the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, McNealy found himself on the front page of the leaderboard a few holes into his third round. The American eagled the par-5 second hole and birdied the par-4 fourth to put himself two shots off the lead, but disaster struck on the par-3 fifth.

After missing the green long and left with his tee shot, McNealy set up for a precarious chip and accidentally caused his ball to move maybe one inch off its grassy perch. Rules officials consulted the replay and decided the club caused the ball to move, so they assessed him a one-stroke penalty.

McNealy was able to get up and down after the ruling to save bogey, but the unfortunate incident clearly threw him off his game. Despite his hot start to the round, the golfer birdied just one of his last 13 holes and parred the rest. All the momentum he built up vanished in an instant.

McNealy rebounded with a 6-under 66 in the final round, but it wasn’t enough to catch Daniel Berger, who eagled the par-5 18th on Sunday to win by two strokes.

Maverick McNealy can avenge his Pebble Beach loss this week

Maverick McNealy plays a shot during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Maverick McNealy plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It’s been two years since the most costly penalty of McNealy’s career, but he’s back at one of his favorite golf courses this week with a great chance to avenge his loss in 2021.

Heading into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, McNealy is fourth on the odds board at +1700 to win the event. He normally doesn’t find himself this high up in the odds, but that just shows how much respect bookmakers give him in his home state of California. McNealy is also riding a hot streak with five top-18 finishes in eight starts this season.

The field at Pebble Beach is never the strongest because of the pro-am element, so this event is McNealy’s best chance of picking up win No. 1 on the PGA Tour. Just be careful with the chip shots, and he should be in contention again this Sunday.


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