Just a short six months ago on January 14th Jack McMullen of East Greenwich High School hit the shot of his life. A buzzer beating 3-pointer that sealed the deal for the Avengers in a win against Chariho.
Six months later Jack's clutch gene strikes again, this time a different story.
The soon to be Senior missed out on playing sports this spring season, but that did not stop him from continuing to compete. On Monday, Jack a shot +2 round of 74 at Alpine Country Club tying him for 4th place in the Rhode Island Junior Amateur Championships. That locked him up to be the 5th overall seed going into today's match play against 12 seed Nolan Marcoux.
Golf and basketball, two polar opposite sports, one working with a team, the other relying on yourself. Jack says he likes to deal with pressure and plays better when its on, "On the basketball court you have the ability to go out and affect the other team. But in golf, you have not only the pressure of playing well, but capitalizing on all opportunities".
Jack played a tremendous front-9, shooting +1 for a 38. He only fell behind in the match after the 3rd hole and never looked back. He took a 1-up lead after 9 holes.
His good play would continue, after winning the 10th hole to take a 2-up lead. After halving 11, and losing 12, the score was back to 1-up. Although the nerves didn't get to McMullen he would win 13 to 2-up with 5 to play.
With a halve on both 15, and 16 Jack was now 2-up with only three holes to play. However, after making a double on 16 and a bogey on 15, suddenly the score was even going into 18. I asked Jack how he felt after dropping two holes later into the match, he said "I wasn't angry or nervous to be honest. Will (his caddy) gave me all the confidence I needed. I knew all my drivers were missing left. To motivate myself I tried to just play some golf and have fun".
The tactic certainly worked, after making a par on 18 and his opponent making a bogey, Jack was able to win the match, advancing him to the round of 8 tomorrow morning.
Going into tomorrow's Quarter-Final match Jack says he can't wait "To have the feeling I did after winning again today, what more can I ask. I'm also just looking forward to having fun and strategizing with my best friend".
His best friend, Will Foster, is on his bag for the duration of this tournament. Will is also the Point Guard for the EG Avengers basketball team, and the two have a history of winning together, capturing the D-2 State Title together just a year ago.
The 2-sport All State athlete McMullen will look to continue his great play tomorrow against the 4th seeded Harry Dressel in the Quarter-Finals at 8am at Alpine Country Club in the RI Junior Amateur Championship.
Good luck Jack!