“Leaders aren’t born, they’re made. They are made just like anything else, through hard work. That is the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal.”
The words of Vince Lombardi define the journey of Arizona men’s golf rising senior Alex McMahon.
Most recently, McMahon competed at the U.S. Open Sectional qualifying rounds in San Francisco, Calif. alongside former Wildcats Jason Gore and Mike Springer.
"It was a great experience and opportunity," McMahon said. "It was a really cool thing to get out there and compete against a lot of pros and elite college players. I held my own and had a chance in the end where I could have qualified, but I hit some bad putts. It gave me a lot of confidence because I feel like I can compete with anyone."
Head coach Jim Anderson believes his experience at the U.S. Open will only enhance McMahon’s ability to become a leader for the young Wildcat team.
"Having a taste of competing with professionals for a national championship is a great opportunity," Anderson said. "He really held his own. He posted two good numbers. That builds confidence and confirms in his mind he belongs there. It's going to help him in future events."
With an entire summer to continue improving, McMahon is expected to play in five or six different amateur events across the country from New York to Northern Arizona.
"Hopefully I can continue playing well this summer,” McMahon said. “I want to continue going out there against the best players and hopefully beat them and keep the momentum going into my senior year, so I can keep improving."
As one of five seniors on the 2014-15 roster, McMahon will step up into a leadership role once held by 2014 graduate Erik Oja. McMahon sees his renewed confidence as a boost and is excited to take a bigger role as he awaits the start of his final season.
"Hopefully I can play the quality of golf that Erik played for us,” McMahon said. “He was so consistent for us, which from a team perspective was awesome. You can't ask for any more. I'd love to follow his footsteps and be in the top 15/10 every tournament.”
“In a leadership role, I'd like to be the guy that leads by example and shows the younger kids, especially the freshmen, how to be successful in Coach's program” McMahon adds. “It’s a change from high school to college and playing for Coach Anderson is different than playing for other coaches.”
With 35 tournaments as a Wildcat, McMahon will be the most experienced golfer on the team. His ability to teach by example will be one of his strongest leadership skills.
"Alex's experience is going to be helpful because he has played so much for us," Anderson said. "He brings level of intelligence most players don't have. He's very smart in both the classroom and dissecting the golf course. I love that about his personality. I hope the younger players watch him. It's important to have your affairs in order because when you do, it allows you to play better golf."
Although McMahon has numerous personal goals for his final season, such as winning a tournament and earning All-American honors, his focus is on leading the team to success. With a summer to prepare, fall to make a push towards a high team ranking and spring to accomplish goals, McMahon is ready for his transition into becoming a team leader.
“I’m a much more confident player than I was at the beginning of last year,” McMahon said. “We had our first taste of being successful as team this spring. It’s a lot of fun being out there competing, trying to win tournaments together. Hopefully we can do that in the fall and all the way through the end of the season."