MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When a seventh grader finishes in the top ten at the state golf tournament, people take notice.
That is what a Simley High School golfer Isabella McCauley pulled off last season, which now has people wondering: What will she do next?
Every dad dreams of having a kid who loves to do what they dad loves to do. Sean McCauley has seen that dream come true with his daughter.
“So my dad got me into golf when I was about six years old. He wanted to have a golf partner for life,” Isabella said.
“With the hope that they would continue to want to play with me, as I get older in life and they get older,” Sean said. “Never had any thought that they would take such a huge liking to this game.”
“It became more than like just something that he wanted,” Isabella said. “I wanted to do it, too.”
Isabella is one of the best golfers in Minnesota. Her dad played a big role in that, too.
“He used to teach golf, so it came natural to my dad just to teach my sister and I,” she said. “He just made it so much fun.”
She started playing tournaments at age 8. She beat her dad for the first time at age 11 — and her dad is no duffer.
“He kind of realized that maybe instead of trying to beat his buddies, he should try to beat me [laughs]!” Isabella said.
“She clearly beat me, beat me handily,” Sean said. “It’s impossible to beat her now. She shoots too good.”
Her peers know the feeling. Isabella tied for ninth at last year’s Class 3A state tournament, which is no small accomplishment.
“I felt really good going into the tournament, just knowing that that golf course kind of fit my game,” she said.
“I know what she’s able to do, so, wasn’t really surprised to be honest. But I was, you know, really, really excited for her,” he said.
How does a tiny, little girl play so well?
“She’s a huge student of the game. She’s a student about the swing,” Sean said.
“I just love the satisfaction of practicing, and getting to, like, be better at something,” Isabella said. “And also, I just really enjoy competing. And it gave me a chance to kind of just bring that side out of me.”
And for such a small person, she has got some big goals.
“It’s kind of a cliché, but I want to go professional. But I really just want to take it year by year, and like I said just enjoy this whole process, and see where it takes me,” Isabella said.
She is well ahead of schedule. But no matter where golf takes her, to have that connection with her dad — something they can share and bond over and love to do together — is the greatest gift.
“This has been, outside of just raising my family, and being with my wife and just living life, this has been the biggest joy,” Sean said.