Blog 78, 11/22/10 - Q&A with Xavier Dailly

With a stroke average of 72.0, Western Washington University's Xavier Dailly won last year's Great Northwest Athletics Conference (GNAC) Player and Newcomer of the Year awards. And when the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) named its Ping All-America team, the 22-year-old from Burlington received an Honorable Mention.
This year, he's playing even better, having averaged 71.3 a round in the Vikings' four fall tournaments. BellinghamGolfer followed Dailly during the Viking Invitational at Bellingham Golf and Country Club in the last week of September, and has exchanged a few emails with him since then. We were curious what his long-term plans are, and if professional golf might figure in his future at all.

1) Where did you grow up playing?
I played at Skagit Golf and Country Club. We moved into a house on the golf course when I was in fifth grade and I continued to play and work at SGCC throughout high school.
2) What are you studying at Western?
I completed a degree in finance last year, and now that I decided to return to play my fifth year of eligibility I will be pursuing a degree in economics as well.
3) What are the strengths of your game?
I think that my wedges are my strength. Any distance inside of about 120 yards seems to be where I play the best, but my putting can show signs of brilliance every now and again as well. Long irons are my weakness and have been something I’ve worked on for quite some time. My Par 3 scoring still isn’t great, but it is improving.
4) Do you have a swing coach and what are you working on?
My swing coach and good friend is Craig Welty, a former WWU golfer and All-American. Craig is from Skagit Golf and Country Club as well and has had a lot of success not only as a teaching pro but as a player as well. Craig and I have been working on getting the ball to roll better off the putter, as well as a few basic swing thoughts. In the last few years I have also seen Carl Smith, focusing primarily on routine and setup. Carl has helped me tremendously on hitting more consistent golf shots. My game wouldn’t be nearly where it is without the help from these two.
5) You have two more quarters at WWU. What are your plans for when you graduate with your second major?
I think that I will be moving to the East Coast after the end of this year and beginning my journey in the financial world. I have completed several internships in both NYC and Miami and am looking forward to a career in finance. More specifically, I see myself trading for a large bank.
6) You had a stroke average of 72.0 last year. Were you pleased with that?
Last season was definitely a stepping stone for me. I played better and more consistently than ever before. I learned a lot about the game and am still learning to stay patient, play smart, and focus on getting the ball in the hole rather than how it gets there.
7) This season you're averaging 71.3. So have you learned to remain patient and focused? Is this the best golf you've ever played?
I definitely have learned to stay more patient and focused, but this season has been quite odd for me to be honest. I came out of a summer in Miami where I didn't play much golf at all, and found myself on the outside looking in during qualifying for our first event. I finally broke through with a good round near the end and got into the fifth and last traveling spot. Since then, I have played fairly well but still feel my putting isn't up to Par. I've hit the ball well, but have a lot of work to do on my short game.
8) The team won three tournaments and finished second at the Viking Invitational. It's a little ironic the only tournament you didn't win was your home game.
Yes, it was a bit odd because we normally play very well at Bellingham Golf and Country Club. This was my worst tournament of the fall as well. I think that because it was our home event, extra expectations led us to a disappointing finish. We didn't get off to a good start and I don't think we realized we were as close to the lead as we actually were, which made it more difficult to come back.
9) Is this the best college team you've played on? If so why?
This is surely the deepest college team I have played on. In the fall, we had eight guys battling for the top five spots, and this spring I wouldn't be suprised if eight jumped to about ten. Guys are working very hard on their games and I expect to see a lot of improvement from those that traveled as well as those that stayed home. This is also the most successful golf team I have ever played on. The way we come together and have a desire to win is really neat. It's nice to know you have four teammates on the course who have what it takes to win mentally as well as physically.
10) You begin the spring semester at the Waikoloa Invitational in Hawaii where you'll come up against several Division I teams. If all five Vikings were to play their best, how high do you think the team might finish?
It's difficult to say considering we haven't competed against these teams before. That said, many of us have played against the same players in summer events. If all five guys play their best golf, there is no question in my mind we will be in the mix to win the event. But it's difficult to get five guys playing their best at the same time. Even in the fall, we rarely had more than two or three guys playing great golf at the same time. The reason we were so successful is because everybody hung on and finished as well as they could even if it wasn't their best day. If we can go out and play the golf we're capable of, without worrying about who's playing with us or around us, we will turn heads and stir up conversation to say the least. We have nothing to lose because nobody is placing expectations on us as we're a Division II team. But we'll gain from the experience whether we finish first or last.

Jack Kelly
Coach Steve Card announced last week three players - Broc Johnson, Dylan Stensland, and Jack Kelly - had signed National Letters of Intent to play for Western starting in fall 2010.
Johnson, currently attending Green River Community College in Auburn, was a first-team South Puget Sound League all-star all four years at Federal Way's Todd Beamer HS, and was the district and Class 4A state runner-up in both 2008 and 2010. He also represented Washington at the 2008 Junior America's Cup.
Stensland, a graduate of Snohomish HS and now a student at Cascadia CC in Bothell after a year at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., tied for 14th at the 2009 Junior America's Cup and placed among the top three at district three times, winning as a freshman. He was a Foothill Conference all-star at College of the Desert last year and, as a senior at Snohomish, lost in a playoff for individual honors at the Class 4A State Championship.
Kelly, a senior at Mount Si HS, won this year's PNGA Public Links Championship at Lake Padden. In 2009, he helped Mount Si to the state title, qualified for the Callaway Junior Worlds, and received the Joan Teats Inspirational Award presented by the Washington Junior Golf Association.
"All three are going to have an immediate impact on our program," said Card. "They will come in next year and challenge for a place in the top five. They're all very polished players who will help us maintain the level of success we've enjoyed of late."

Lake Padden 11/22/10.
The Winter Golf Tour at Lake Padden is scheduled to begin this coming Saturday (unless the course still looks like this, right, perhaps) with the Individual Stroke Play. Entry fee is the green fee plus $15, and you can tee off at any time. But you can call the pro shop (738-7400) or email Greg Morris - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it - if you need to book a specific tee-time.
Congratulations to Mike Massey who won the 4-Club Fiasco at North Bellingham on November 14th with a Gross 72. Congratulations also to Steve Card and Bob Fields who each shot a Gross 60 at the Sudden Valley One-Person Scramble. By the way, check out Sudden Valley's slick new web site, still at the old address -

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