McCauley and Stevens Named Ms. and Mr. Minnesota Golf

June 12, 2022 | 4 min.
By Nick Hunter

  INDEPENDENCE, Minn. – Isabella McCauley and defending Class AAA individual champion Nate Stevens, Minnesota’s top-ranked high school golfers, were named 2022 Ms. and Mr. Minnesota Golf Sunday at Windsong Farm.

Created in 2016, the Ms. and Mr. Minnesota Golf award recognizes the state’s top female and male high school senior golfers for their accomplishments both on and off the course. Finalists are chosen by a committee of high school coaches and amateur golf representatives.

“This award is something I’ve dreamed about winning—growing up and playing with some of the girls who’ve won this award when I was a seventh and eighth-grader has been a really cool experience,” McCauley said Sunday.

McCauley, a University of Minnesota commit, medaled at 10 events this season and never finished worse than second. Her senior season was highlighted by a round of 64 to claim a four-stroke victory over younger sister, Reese, at the 2022 Dakota County Girls Championship at Emerald Greens Golf Club.

McCauley and her sister Reese, the defending Class AAA champion, both fired 5-under 139 at the Section 4AAA Championship to share medalist honors and qualify for the state tournament as individuals.

“We had a good team dynamic this season and wanted to make it to state as a team, but unfortunately, we took second," Isabella said. "To play along with Reese and be really competitive with her has been exciting.”

Making her first appearance at the state tournament as a seventh-grader in 2017, McCauley finished ninth and would improve by three places the following year. McCauley set a Class AAA tournament record by winning the 2019 championship by 10 strokes but was unable to defend her title during her sophomore year, which was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once golf resumed during the 2021 season, McCauley was off to a hot start once again before missing the section and state championships when she became the youngest Minnesotan to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. McCauley posted an 8-over 150 at the storied Olympic Club in San Francisco, missing the weekend cut by just two strokes.

“I love the van rides and going to state in 2019 was definitely a highlight as well,” McCauley reflected on her favorite memories during her five seasons of high school golf. “[Head coach Kyle Golden] is amazing and has done such a great job with the program—I really look up to him.

“It’s a little cliché, but I’m really excited for college. I chose Minnesota mainly because of the team and coaches. I’m looking forward to competing with some people that I haven’t seen in a while and seeing how I do at a higher level.”

Other finalists for the Ms. Minnesota Golf honor included: Ellie Breuer (St. Michael-Albertville); Emma Davies (Eden Prairie); Madi Hicks (Chanhassen); Cora Larson (Alexandria); McKenna Mallow (Detroit Lakes); Caroline Monty (Stillwater) and Samantha Youngquist (Chaska).

Shooting over par at just two events this season, Stevens finished on top of the leaderboard on 11 occasions during his senior season. He will make his fourth state tournament appearance next week to cap off his sixth season of varsity golf for the Raiders.

“I was looking at the previous winners of this award and those were guys that I looked up to,” Stevens said. “To put myself in a younger person’s shoes and have someone look up to me is a pretty cool thing.

“I played with [2018 winner] Tristan Nelko when I was in eighth grade and he was going on to play Division I golf. He was who I wanted to be.”

After a two-stroke victory at last year’s state championship, Stevens believes there is only one thing he could do to consider the 2022 season a successful one:

“Win again,” he said. “There was definitely a little more pressure at the beginning of the season, not so much from outside sources, but my own want to win was a little higher.”

Stevens’ first state appearance came in 2018 where he finished tied for 25th and he followed it by finishing tied for ninth in 2019. Missing the 2020 high school season, Stevens posted rounds of 68-66, respectively, to claim his first state title last season.

Winner of back-to-back American Junior Golf Association events in 2020, Stevens is currently ranked No. 135 nationally. He will play golf at the University of Notre Dame this fall.

“Everyone at the college level is good and I look forward to playing with really good players," Stevens said. "By osmosis and to get better by just watching those players will be exciting for me.”

Brady Baynes (Eden Prairie); Chase Camilli (Lakeville North); Peyton Coahran (New London-Spicer); Charlie Nasby (Edina); Owen Rexing (Rosemount); Tyler Seeling (Pequot Lakes) and Jack Wetzel (Edina) were also named finalists for the award.


Nick Hunter

Nick Hunter got his start covering sports for the Mankato Free Press while attending Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

He then contributed to several online outlets, including Bleacher Report, prior to turning his focus to golf.

Hunter enters his 12th season covering golf in Minnesota as news editor for the MGA website. He resides in New Prague with his wife and two sons.

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