McCall's on a roll
Southland golf No 1 Vaughan McCall saved his best for last to qualify for the US Amateur Championship in Texas.
The 21-year-old from the Gore Golf Club delivered "the best mental performance of my life" - a five-under-par 31 on the back nine at the Woodlands Country Club - to finish in a share of second and secure his place by finishing inside the top four qualifying spots in the field of 300 golfers.
The New Zealand rep shot rounds of 71 and 67 to finish on a six-under-par 138 total only one stroke back from American winner Matthew Van Zandt (69, 68).
Fellow Kiwi Cameron Jones had rounds of 70 and 75 to finish on a one-over-par total and six shots back from the qualifying mark.
McCall will look to continue his hot form at the U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline Club, Massachusetts from August 12 to 18.
"It means so much to me to qualify for the US Amateur," said McCall shortly after his round.
"I achieved some massive goals in so many areas the last few days and weeks."
The former New Zealand Stroke Play and New Zealand Amateur Champion said his final round 67 was the sort of performance he has been working towards after months of hard work on and off the course.
"I played extremely well today but more importantly my mental side was superb," he said.
"I was square through the front nine in round two. I just kept telling myself that I would be fine and that I needed to show patience."
McCall has been working with respected Sports Psychologist David Galbraith of Mind Gym and he said that work paid off under pressure.
"I have to thank David. I kept patient and for that I have seen results. I went five under the back nine to qualify. That was mentally the best performance of my life. Now I cannot wait for U.S Am. I simply can't wait."
The Kiwi played the qualifying event in Texas on the back of finishing tied 20th at the Trans Miss Championship on his first trip to the United States.
His best result in the UK was a runner-up finish at the Berkshire Trophy.
He will look to become the second Kiwi to win the US Amateur after Danny Lee. The Rotorua amateur became the youngest winner of the US Amateur Championship in 2008, aged 18 years and one month.
Lee was six months younger than Tiger Woods when he won the first of his three US Amateur Championships in 1994.
McCall feels like he is in good shape to contend for one of the biggest prizes in amateur golf.
''My form is really good. The key to my success was how hard I have been working in the gym and in practice, practice rounds and the work I am doing on course physically and mentally."
McCall personifies the saying 'You can take the boy out of Southland but you can't take the Southland out of the boy.'
"I am loving the States. I like the country. The people are nice and I have met some great people. It is still not as good as Gore and New Zealand though. I keep telling them over here how great my home is."
The U.S. Amateur Qualifying - The Woodlands Country Club, Texas, Par 72 (U.S. unless noted)
137 Matthew Van Zandt 69 68
138 Vaughan McCall (NZ) 71 67, Patrick Christovich 69 69
139 Wilson McDonald 66 73
Failed to Qualify:
139 Kyle Westmoreland 68 71, Scott Smyers 68 71
140 Zach Almandoz 74 66, Andrew Ertel 72 68, Luke Sheehan 71 69, Stuart Smallwood 70 70
141 Sam Smith 71 70, John Houston 71 70, Patrick Newcomb 69 72, Eric Ricard 69 72
145 Cameron Jones (NZ) 70 75