Kevin McLister Continues a Family Tradition: Loudoun Golf and Country Club Player Heads to U.S. Amateur in Oklahoma

Kevin McLister, above, is among 312 competitors aiming for a national title.
Kevin McLister, above, is among 312 competitors aiming for a national title. "He'll remember it for a lifetime," said his brother Joey, a 2005 qualifier. (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)
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By Bill Oram
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 24, 2009

Standing over the first tee at Loudoun Golf and Country Club, Joey McLister held form, his driver dangling behind his left shoulder, as his eyes followed the path of the ball he just sent flying over the trees.

"Yessir!" he exclaimed. "Early lead."

"No way," said his playing partner, who had yet to take a shot in their friendly practice round last Monday. "That's rough."

Kevin McLister, Joey's 20-year-old kid brother, centered himself over the tee and took his own shot. Joey cackled, made a crack about the ball being way to the left and sped off in his cart.

Turns out Joey's shot landed 20 yards from the pin on the fairway, allowing him an easy approach that left him with a two-foot putt for birdie. Kevin's ball somehow ended up behind the green, two feet in front of the cart path and perilously close to Purcellville's Main Street, maybe 15 feet from the pavement. Kevin said he was certain his ball ricocheted off something hard to land where it did.

"That lie doesn't look too good," chided Joey. Kevin calmly chipped onto the green, his ball coming to rest directly between Joey's ball and the hole.

The elder McLister hit Kevin's ball out of the way in disgust, granting his brother the "gimme."

"People always say you're ripping each other," Joey said. "No. It's just competition."

Joey, 24, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is a professional on the Gateway Tour, which has produced PGA Tour players such as 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson and Fairfax native Steve Marino. This was the last time he would get to play with Kevin -- who this fall will be a junior at Delaware, where Joey also played -- before his younger brother plays in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa starting Monday.

The banter continued as the round progressed. Kevin outplayed Joey, drawing cries of "Daggabit!" and other indecipherable hoots. Kevin ultimately shot a 3-under-par 69 on the course, where he first broke par as a freshman in high school, while Joey finished a stroke behind at 70.

While Joey tried to keep up with his younger brother, Kevin tried to maintain pace with Joey in the taunting department.

The redeeming fact here, the one that keeps the McListers from falling into the category of athletes who are great competitors but lousy sports, is that it's all an act. Joey wants nothing more than to see his younger brother succeed. Which is why, at the start of the summer, he invited Kevin to Scottsdale for what he called "Joey's Boot Camp."

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