Matthew McClean is hoping he can get something going with the putter this week and see his good golf rewarded as he prepares for his US Mid-Amateur Championship debut on Saturday.
McClean who is joined by Hugh Foley in the field for Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf and Country Club was most recently in action for Ireland at the Eisenhower Trophy where he helped the Boys in Green to a top-20 finish.
The Malone native finished in a share of 76th place on the individual leaderboard with a third round of 69 the highlight. He feels his game is in good shape and hopes it will reflect in the scoring this week.
“It was a great week in Le Golf National, that was the goal for the year to make that team so it was nice to get the pick and play,” explained the 30-year-old. “The courses were fantastic and that level of field was very good to play in. Didn’t have my best week individually, I played pretty good but didn’t score very well so apart from the score everything was very enjoyable.
“Trying to bring the same swing into this week and hopefully a few putts will drop and score a bit better. The game feels pretty good, playing nice in practice so looking forward to Saturday hopefully Hugh and I can have a good week.”
McClean and Foley are staying in a house together and have been playing various courses in Chicago in preparation while also taking time to enjoy themselves having arrived a week in advance of the championship.
The Portrush Scratch Cup winner has been an extremely consistent performer both in Ireland and abroad without landing that major win. Having finished runner-up in the Irish Am after a playoff defeat to Colm Campbell, McClean was pipped to the post by Foley at the North and then beaten in a semi-final by his compatriot at the Irish Close.
Top ten finishes at the Lytham Trophy and the Amateur and a third at the Brabazon Trophy see McClean tee it up on US soil for the first time in fine fettle on the road.
“Me and Hugh are both looking forward to the week. We arrived a week early and have been out for a few rounds in Chicago and have a bit of fun, get used to the courses, the weather and the grasses and all that stuff.
“It should be a pretty good week, just seeing places I’ve never seen before, the golf courses are fantastic. At least there’s two of us out here we can sort of enjoy the social aspect. The mid-am field is maybe a bit more social in the early part and will get more serious towards the end. It’s good fun getting out and meeting new people in America and hopefully having a good week.
“This is my first time playing golf in America I think the standard of courses here are incredible so this week we have two very good courses. The onus is on driving it straight and a decent length and getting the pace of the green.
“The grass is pretty similar to back home, nothing too unusual so it’s about getting used to the pace of the greens how firm or soft they may be, but it is similar to back home.”