Again in 2012, Stanford coach Conrad Ray took an opportunity and signed a thin hockey participant from Portola Valley, Calif., named Maverick McNealy. It paid off within the type of eleven particular person victories, three first-group All-America alternatives and a Haskins Award.

5 years later, McNealy has graduated and turned professional, however one other former two-sport highschool athlete is excelling for the Cardinal. Junior Brandon Wu began the autumn with a pair of prime-6 finishes in elite occasions, tying for sixth on the Olympia Fields/Preventing Illini Invitational and sharing runner-up honors on the Nike Golf Collegiate.

“It’s not a shock to me,” Ray stated. “Everyone knows Brandon’s extraordinarily athletic … and I feel he’s lastly getting his mojo within the school golf ranks.”

When Ray first noticed Wu on a golf course, he instantly observed Wu’s energy and athleticism. Wu was a standout golfer at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and a varsity swimmer, competing within the 50 freestyle and one hundred backstroke for the personal faculty. (He performed leisure hockey, too.) When most of his golf contemporaries teed it up throughout winter months in hotter climates, Wu was indoors sporting a swim cap and goggles, swimming lap after lap.

Some school coaches handed on Wu as a result of he was a uncooked expertise who performed golf solely half the yr. Ray, however, noticed plenty of potential.

“I felt like we sort of gained the lottery there somewhat bit when he selected Stanford,” Ray stated. “I undoubtedly felt like he was underneath-recruited relative to his bodily means and what I used to be seeing.”

Wu’s popularity all the time had been that of a sound ballstriker who performs a reduce. However he has labored arduous on bettering his placing, and this summer time bolstered his confidence by almost qualifying for a serious championship (U.S. Open) and profitable his first nationwide novice event (Porter Cup).

Wu was a primary alternate for this yr’s U.S. Open and made the journey to Erin Hills, benefiting from the USGA’s new rule that allowed first alternates to play follow rounds. Wu, who began at tenth on the alternate listing, ended up third and missed out on enjoying in his first main.

However he gained useful expertise by enjoying apply rounds in entrance of massive crowds, and a month later he gained the Porter Cup in entrance of a gallery Wu estimated to be within the “couple tons of.”

“I used to be capable of keep fairly calm and picked up from that by drawing from that U.S. Open expertise,” Wu stated.

Wu almost gained his first school title this fall at Pumpkin Ridge, giving himself an 18-foot eagle putt to tie Oregon’s Norman Xiong and pressure a playoff. Wu missed the putt and settled for birdie, however confirmed his coach rather a lot that day.

“I might inform he wasn’t nervous,” Ray stated. “You’ll be able to’t recruit or coach that.”

Ray stated he’ll typically discover Wu alone on the placing inexperienced after follow, late into the afternoon and lengthy after others have left.

“The solitude of the sport is one thing that I feel he actually likes and relishes,” Ray stated.

Type of just like the lengthy swim practices, swimming forwards and backwards, gazing a skinny line on the underside of the pool.

“Swimming, like golf, it’s a really psychological sport and it’s fairly individualized, as nicely,” Wu stated. “… You actually should push your self and encourage your self, and set objectives and attempt to attain them.”

In your mark.

Get set.


(Word: This story seems within the October 9, 2017 difficulty of Golfweek.)