What a few weeks it has been!
This past month has been a really exciting time for Brandon Mancheno. His Auburn Tigers, won the SEC Championship in dramatic fashion over arch rival, Alabama. Brandon was named SEC Freshman Player of the Year, 2nd Team All-SEC and in the running for the Jack Nicklaus Award for the Nation’s best player.
It couldn’t get any better…Right?
This week, Brandon and his Tigers, are competing at the NCAA National Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The 4 days of Stroke Play ended yesterday, with Brandon tying for 1st place in the Championship! Amazing! The playoff was beyond exciting, and to think he is only a freshman! My wife Valerie had to calm me down and tell me to quit yelling at the TV…haha.
As a team, the Tigers, coached by Nick Clinard and Corey Maggard, qualified as 1 of the TOP 8 teams in the nation and started today playing the Defending National Champion, Oklahoma Sooners. Auburn won! Now the team moves on to play against the #1 seed and home course team of Oklahoma State. Regardless of what happens from here on out, what an experience for Brandon and us all!
All of Brandon’s great golf made me think of a few things that were all part of Brandon becoming the player and wonderful young man he is.
Firstly, Brandon has had tremendous family support from his parents, Robert and Andrea. They always supported him, his golf and ALWAYS got him to me for his lessons; playing at the Academy and to the tournaments he was competing in. Robert and Andrea sacrificed so much for Brandon’s success. Along with his parents, he had amazing grandparents, brothers and sisters, that all were part of a support team.
Secondly, Brandon was very focused during his instructions. He was never shy with questions and always looking to work hard. That is such an amazing combination of talent and passion. I remember giving him drills to work on, and he would always accomplish what we set out to change. Some were more difficult than others, but with focus and dedication, he always got it!
Thirdly, Brandon never lost sight of having fun! Either with his family, Academy friends, or me he was willing to let loose and enjoy the experience. Our trips back to my home in Wisconsin, Orlando, or Berkeley Hall, were always great ways to play wonderful golf courses, let off some steam, and have fun.
As people are reading this, I hope parents are seeing what is needed to develop a player into greatness… Young players need strong and loving family, a Coach who loves him/her and who is as much a friend and mentor, as he is a Swing Coach. And maybe most important, making sure to keep it fun!
Remember, it’s just a game,
Dale Claussen, TGANF