Rebel Signee Featured On Golfweek.com

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

By RAY McCARTHY
Assistant Editor

Sean Dale had an epiphany when he shot 80-84 at last year’s Verizon Junior Heritage to finish 44th in the 46-player field. The five-hour drive from Hilton Head Island, S.C., back to Jacksonville, Fla., left plenty of time for painful introspection and self-doubt.

“Me and my dad had a conversation about if I wanted to keep (playing competitive golf). I was tired of it, I was really frustrated,” Dale said, “but right before we got home, I said, Dad, I’m going to put everything into golf, I’m going to do everything I can to get better,’ and since then, I haven’t looked back.”

Dale, now ranked 11th in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, has torn through junior tournaments in the past four months. He’s won three consecutive FCWT events, highlighted by a birdie Jan. 6 on the famed 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass’ Players Stadium Course to win the FCWT/Golfweek Boys Invitational. In the middle of that stretch, he made it to the finals of the AJGA’s Polo Golf Junior Classic.

“Since that day (at the Junior Heritage), he and I haven’t talked about it much,” Sean’s father, Bob, said. “His work ethic has dramatically changed. He’s worked hard on his game and hard on his body.”

Todd Anderson, the director of instruction at Sea Island Golf Learning Center, has been instrumental in Dale’s drastic improvement. Dale came to Anderson with a laid-off, flat position at the top of his swing, but Anderson has improved the plane of his backswing.

“I try to get my junior students to understand that golf is important, but at the same time, they have to understand how to operate on the golf course,” Anderson said. “I thought Sean was very hard on himself, not giving himself enough credit for good golf shots, and not being able to let go of the bad shots.”

In November, Dale entered the Polo at No. 38 in Golfweek’s rankings, but felt as if he belonged among the best after making the quarterfinals at the U.S. Junior.

“Before the U.S. Junior, I looked at Peter (Uihlein) and Bud (Cauley) as top junior golfers, and I didn’t consider myself anywhere near that,” Dale said, “but after I made it to the quarterfinals, it gave me a lot of confidence, saying, I made it farther than a lot of the good juniors.’ ”

Dale squeaked by Tommy Chung Hao Mou in his first match at Polo with what he called one of his worst rounds of the tournament. He then rattled off wins over Ping Invitational champion Gregor Main in the Round of 16, and avenged his loss to Wesley Graham in the U.S. Junior by beating Golfweek’s top-ranked junior, 3 and 2, in the Polo quarterfinals.

A birdie on the 17th hole of his semifinal match with William Kropp powered Dale to a 1-up victory and a berth in the final against Bjorn Akesson, where he lost, 3 and 2.

Dale had won the FCWT’s World Golf Village Open two weeks earlier thanks to a final-hole birdie. He used the momentum from his run at Polo to win two more FCWT events. He birdied his final two holes Dec. 2 to win the Grand Cypress Classic by two strokes, then closed the Golfweek Invitational at TPC Sawgrass with a birdie to win by one.

“It feels good (winning three times in a row),” Dale said. “You just have the confidence, and you just feel like you’re going to win.”

Dale is hoping his success will carry over to his freshman season at Ole Miss this fall. He’s set a personal goal to be named SEC Freshman Player of the Year, but knows he can learn a lot from the upperclassmen and head coach Ernest Ross.

“I’m going to take as much as advice from anyone I can,” Dale said.

Dale doesn’t think his mindset will change at all as he makes the move to college golf, though.

“I don’t feel any pressure when I go on the golf course,” he said.

Pressure is nothing when you’ve climbed from the bottom.



Ray McCarthy is a Golfweek assistant editor. To reach him e-mail rmccarthy@golfweek.com.
Posted: 2/22/2008

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Aug. 31

      Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Athletics

      This is a new concept we've created for the Ole Miss Sports Blog that we're calling Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss-Boise State

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      The No. 18 Ole Miss football team won the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game defeating Boise State 35-13. The Rebels move into Southeastern Conference next week with a road test at Vanderbilt from Nashville's LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. The... read more

    • 'The New Normal' on Defense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- Boise State had been the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 40.2 points per game dating back to the 2000 season.  Highlighted by four interceptions, eight tackles for loss and big hits by several different players, the... read more

    • Second-Half Surge for Rebel Offense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- After an up-and-down first half, which included a touchdown and three interceptions, senior quarterback Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense found their stride in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. Leading 7-6 early in the... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Boise State Motivational

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Boise State Official Team Motivational '14 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Boise State

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as Ole Miss opens its 2014 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Boise State from Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Contrast in Experience Boise State has one of the youngest teams in the country with 67 freshmen... read more

    • Volleyball Opens Steven McRoberts Era

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Volleyball

      Here are three pieces to keep in mind as we look ahead to the Ole Miss volleyball team's season-opening weekend in Buffalo, New York, starting with Canisius on Friday morning, the first of four matches over three days at the... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 1 (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Dome, Sweet Dome for Atlanta Area Rebels

      Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Football

      For high school football players in Georgia, all roads lead to the Georgia Dome and the state championships.  For a handful of Rebels, those roads lead home, as Ole Miss opens the 2014 season against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Forward Together Construction Update

      Monday, August 25, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • Relentless is the Word on Defense

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Football

      ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy asked each of the 65 coaches from the Power Five conferences to describe their team in one word.  Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's word? Relentless. The same can be said of the Ole Miss defense.  And... read more

    • McCormick, Defense Shine in Win

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Soccer

      After playing 110 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Georgia on Friday night, Ole Miss responded with a gutsy 1-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. The defense, led by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick was the story of the... read more

    • Rebels Battle to Draw on Historic Night

      Friday, August 22, 2014 -

      Big time crowd for @SECNetwork live sports event debut. Record attendance of 1,823 for @OleMissSoccer Let's finish strong.-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August 23, 2014 Ole Miss kicked off the 2014 season in thrilling fashion, rallying to a 1-1 draw with... read more

    • Kiffin Pleased with Defensive Line Progress

      Friday, August 22, 2014 - Football

      Like defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin has been pleased with his players throughout fall camp, particularly the depth bolstered by the return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and the addition of sophomore Fadol Brown and... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Volleyball Day One

      Friday, August 22, 2014 - Volleyball

      THE SEASON: Volleyball - Day One from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more