Daley Is A Key Part Of ISU's Success
AMES, Iowa - Over the past two seasons, junior Scott Fernandez has taken center stage for the Iowa State men’s golf team. He broke Iowa State’s single-season stroke average mark (71.27) in 2012-13, earning All-America and All-Big 12 honors along the way.
Fernandez is not alone in having success over this period of time. Junior Sam Daley has also been a cognitive piece in the Cyclones’ success the past two seasons.
Coming out of high school, Daley was the third-ranked junior in Australia while also winning the Tasmanian Junior.
“It helped the coaches because it showed them I can be a consistent player and it also showed them that I could win bigger junior events,” said Daley.
He was a key factor in head coach Andrew Tank’s initial recruiting class as the Cyclone mentor.
“I think Sam is off to a really good start this year,” Tank said. “I’m really pleased with the effort he’s put into his game. He’s working on the right things and he is really taking a leadership role in terms of helping our new guys get adjusted. He’s going take a really important role in our team’s success.”
Once he got to Iowa State, Daley wasted no time living up to and exceeding expectations.
“I didn’t know what to expect at first but I played well in team qualifying to make the team and from there I didn’t look back,” Daley said about his expectations as a freshman.
Not only did he not look back, he pressed forward. In his rookie campaign, he was one of only two golfers that played in all 13 meets for the Cyclones. He recorded a stroke average of 74.28, a freshman average bested by only two other golfers; Nate McCoy and Scott Fernandez. His success didn’t stop there. He went on to record what is still his career low round of 67 and tied for 18th at the Big 12 Championship. To close out his successful freshman season, he tied for 30th at the NCAA Regional.
“I played well in the Big 12’s and it showed me that I could compete against the top guys in our conference and also the nation,” Daley said.
After a tremendous freshman season, Daley came into 2012 with high expectations.
“I had very high expectations for my second season, maybe even too high,” Daley said. “I didn’t train hard enough in that summer and it showed in my results.”
Although he didn’t match the numbers he achieved during the previous season, he certainly had a successful season. He was, once again, one of only two Cyclones to play in all 11 tournaments during the year. He was second on the team in scoring average for the second consecutive season, recording a 75.13 scoring mark. He also received post season accolades. He was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team member.
“I also take pride in my school work,” Daley added. “It was a nice accolade to receive for the hard work that you put in.”
As they tee it up this season, Daley, once again, has high expectations for himself and for his teammates.
“My goals are to make to make post season play and definitely make it to the NCAA finals,” Daley said. “Personally, I would like to win an event and finish in the top-10 at least five times.”
This off-season, Daley made sure that he would be prepared to meet these goals. He sat down after the season and made a list of all the things he needed to get better at. He changed coaches and worked a lot on the physical side of things. His off -season also included a five-week stint in the United States. He played in top amateur events for those five weeks including the prestigious Dogwood Invitational where he tied for fifth. He received another top-10 when he tied for fourth at the Iowa Amateur. He was also selected to represent Australia, along with freshman teammate Ruben Sondjaja, to play in the Spirit International in Texas.
“It’s a proud moment when you can represent your country in your chosen sport,” Daley explained.
Daley is well on his way to reaching the goals he set out to achieve this season. At the team’s first tournament, the Gopher invitational, Daley fired rounds of 72-70-70 for a tournament total of 212 to tie for eighth. He followed that up with a successful showing at the Columbia Regional Preview where he carded rounds of 77-68-73 to tie for 15th.
Daley will make sure that his team, as well as himself, meet these goals that have been set forth.
“We have the talent and resources so there aren’t any excuses,” said Daley.