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Q&A with Nevada golfer Brendan MacDougall on his one-hit wonder of a season

Brendan MacDougall
Brendan MacDougall had a stellar season in his one year at Nevada. (Nevada athletics)

Brendan MacDougall only spent one season at Nevada but he made the most of it.

The Wolf Pack golfer, who is originally from Calgary, transferred from High Point University in North Carolina to Nevada for his senior season and had a stellar campaign. He immediately stepped into the Wolf Pack's starting lineup and competed in all eight events in 2020-21, compiling a stroke average of 72.58 per round. MacDougall helped Nevada finish runner-up at the Mountain West Championship, qualifying the team for the NCAA Regional where MacDougall finished a team-best ninth place, eagling his final hole at Nevada and nearly qualifying for the NCAA Championship as an individual. MacDougall then paired with teammate Sam Meek to charge through the 129-team U.S. Amateur Four-Ball field to reach the championship match where they lost on the first playoff hole.

As a result of MacDougall's tremendous year at Nevada, he is Nevada Sports Net's Wolf Pack Athlete of the Month for June, an honor presented in partnership with Champion Chevrolet. You can watch our full interview with MacDougall below, or check out our Q&A underneath that.

Q&A with Brendan MacDougall

NSN: What was it like to end your career in the Wolf Pack silver and blue?

Brendan MacDougall: "It was good. It was a little different than I expected. I don't even know what I expected. Overall, it was just an amazing experience. It all started a couple weeks before Regionals at conference and we were in position going into the last round and had an unbelievable day as a team. That was fun to be a part of even though my score didn't count, but that's OK. That's part of college golf. You're not always going to be that guy. Sometimes you have to rely on your teammates. That was a quite an awesome experience for me. And Regionals were great. Every Regional you get to go to is special because it's a culmination of what you've done the entire year. For that to be my last tournament was pretty special, and to be able to eagle my last hole of college golf was even better. It was a good time."

NSN: After starting your career at High Point, what made you want to come to Nevada and how will that impact your career moving forward because of the success this year?

BD: "It was good. I loved my time at High Point. It was amazing. Everybody says COVID took a whole lot away from them, and that's true. It took a lot away from me as well. But it also gave me the opportunity to come to Nevada (because of the extra year of eligibility). I never would have had that if it didn't happen. I was super grateful to be able to look at it that way, and to be a part of Nevada and the Mountain West was incredible. They have such a great lifestyle and environment. They really know how to raise athletes and put them in really great environments and have them compete to an extremely high level. It was great to be a part of, and at the end of the day it was really awesome."

NSN: Take me through finishing second at the U.S. Amateur Four Ball with Nevada teammate Sam Meek?

BD: "That was incredible. The day we got back from Reno (after NCAA Regionals), we had to leave an go up to Seattle. There wasn't a whole lot of turnaround, and we didn't dwell on the fact we didn't get to nationals. That was OK. That was one of the most fun weeks of competition. There was so much golf, and it was an amazing golf course. To be able to share it with Sam was awesome. We played pretty solid and spectacular golf for the better part of the week. We came up a bit short. But the other guys played well and earned it. Hats off to them. It was a nice little capstone because it was another event that I got to play with a UNR teammate."

NSN: What do you take away from playing in a tournament with such high stakes after knowing your game measure up with other guys who want to get on the PGA Tour?

BD: "It's more experience and another chance to throw yourself in the mix and see how you come out of it. We were pretty lucky that week that we came out of it pretty well after having to deal with nerves every single match. You either win or you go home. It's all just a learning experience and we were very fortunate to come out the way we did. It could have been a little better. It could have also been worse. Overall, we performed well and it gives us a lot of confidence going forward."

NSN: Three-fifths of Nevada's starting lineup at the end of the year was from Canada. How big is golf in Canada?

BD: "We joked about it with Coach (Jacob) Wilner all the time, telling him, 'Why don't you just stick with Canada and recruit from there? That's where all your best guys are coming from.' Golf up here is incredible. Although you don't have 9-to-10 months out of the year where you can play, everybody packs in as much as they can in that 4- to 5-month stretch. A lot of the success up here you have to credit to Golf Canada for starting to develop players at a really young age. They have a lot of fantastic junior events that they put on, high-level junior events that are able to simulate a transition into amateur golf and later they simulate from amateur to college and college to pro. They do a very good job of helping everybody out, and I think it will only be better from here on out."

NSN: Take us through the process you're going through to try and become a pro golfer?

BD: "It's a big process. I still haven't fully wrapped my head around the whole part of it. There's a lot I need to learn and a lot I need to figure out. For me, a lot of the summer is going to be to continue amateur golf. I'm going back to the U.S. on Sunday for the better part of a month to play a few months down there, and the goal is to see where my game stacks up against the top amateurs, some of whom are still in school and others who just got out. There's a lot of ways I can go. There are mini-tours all over Canada and the U.S. There's some in Mexico. You could even fly across the pond and go to Europe. A lot of it will be figuring out what is best for what I ultimately want to do."

NSN: Your mom was a softball player at Ohio State and your dad a multiple-time national champion in badminton: If you had to beat one of them in one of those sports, which would you choose?

BD: "I still can't beat my dad in badminton. That's not happening. Every year we have our big family get togethers at a local club downtown and play badminton with our entire family, and him and one of my cousins I still can't beat. That's upsetting. I feel like I could probably pitch to my mom but if she were to pitch to me, I'd get struck out in a heartbeat because that's what she did. I'd just sit there and look at it. So, I'm not hitting that."

NSN: What it's like to live in Calgary and how similar it is to Reno as a town at the base of the mountains with incredible outdoor activates?

BD: "It is kind of similar to Reno. It's a lot bigger, but it's amazing. The mountains are an hour away. There's so much to do whether it's summer or winter. The same with what you have there in Lake Tahoe and Truckee. It's in the mountains. It's incredible. I'm super lucky to grow up here with the all opportunities we have. Not just golf, but playing baseball growing up and being able to experience everything I have, and I don't think I would have gotten that at any other place. It's awesome. Then there's the (CFL's) Calgary Stampede. If you're every around, come for the first week-and-a-half of July and you'll have a great time."

NSN: A lot of people are excited to get the CFL going. We were talking to Cody Fajardo, the quarterback at Saskatchewan, a little rival there. I don't know if you can root for Cody as a Nevada guy but also being a Stampeder might be a tough deal for you, no?

BD: "It's actually not. My mom grew up in Saskatchewan, so I'm a Riders fan. Rider pride."

For previous Wolf Pack Athletes of the Month Q&As, click here.

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