This season, another new star from the Saginaw Valley State collegiate program emerged. Dan MacLelland, who was not even listed on pba.com's exempt player page this season (because he was not yet exempt), emerged as one of the best players on Tour - qualifying for four telecasts (with a high finish of second in the WSOB Shark Championship) and leading the $1 million Tournament of Champions heading into the final eight games (he would ultimately finish 6th, earning $30K).
MacLelland possesses one of the strongest strike balls on Tour, a sick, vertical backswing with perfect balance, and his ability to compete on difficult conditions (he qualified 5th for the U.S. Open telecast, which is considered the toughest condition on the Tour) made him a threat any given week. He also can roll the big scores as well, once shooting a "low 6" (that would be a perfect 600 series) for a 2-game sweeper at the South Point in Las Vegas during a megabuck amateur event prior to his debut on Tour.
Although MacLelland struggled on TV, he seemed to shake off each setback and appeared ready to roll at the start of each new Tour event. As was the case with O'Neill, once MacLelland figures out how to score under the TV lights, it could be pretty scary. And when that happens, we'll have to think of a new nickname to anoint what looks to be the Tour's next big rising star...maybe something along the lines of "Big Mac" or "Dan the Man."