ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - It started, simply, as a way to have a playing partner.
"Get the girls into the game of golf," Sean McCauley says. "Selfishly, for me, would give me the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them throughout the rest of my life playing this game.”
Now Sean McCauley’s oldest, Isabella, has become a golf prodigy.
“I love competing," says Isabella McCauley. "I love going to the 18th hole needing a 15-foot putt to win. I love the pressure.”
She’ll get all those things in two weeks, when she’ll be on the 18th hole at Augusta National, competing in a group of 80 contestants at the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals. An intimidating event for some, but the opportunity of a lifetime for Isabella.
“It’s something that, you know, could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Isabella says. "You’re not going to waste it. You’re going to enjoy every minute.”
Isabella has become such an accomplished golfer that she’s no longer just a playing partner – on the course, she’s stiff competition for her dad.
“It started out as me and my buddy trying to beat each other," Sean McCauley says, laughing. "Then at about the fourth hole we realized we’d better just try to beat Isabella.”
When asked if she's gotten to the point where she can beat dad yet, Isabella dons a huge smile.
"Yes, and I have enjoyed it quite thoroughly," she says.
She hopes to enjoy her competition just as much. But even if she doesn’t beat them all, she’ll still take away plenty.
“I’ll have a lot of family there, rooting me on, and I am just going to have a blast," Isabella says.
Wearing that signature smile as she dominates the masses one drive, chip and putt at a time.