When the Daniel family plays golf, any of its four members are capable of winning.
There’s Kay, the matriarch of the crew, who in her youth played at Mississippi State and won the Louisiana Women’s Amateur and Women’s Mid-Amateur. Her husband, Chuck, played baseball for the Bulldogs and is a heck of a golfer himself, as well as being a golf coach at Archbishop Hannan High.
Then there are their two children, Nick and Abbey, who both are standouts on youth golf tours and also in their young prep careers.
Nick, a 16-year-old rising junior for Hannan, shot a 1-over 73 on both days of the Division IV Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championships in May to finish third individually and help the Hawks to a fourth-place team finish. Abbey, a 14-year-old incoming freshman at Hannan, shot a two-day total of 155 to finish second individually as only an eighth-grader at the LHSAA Division II championships (also in May).
Clearly, the siblings’ talents have not fallen far from the proverbial tree. Their success is one reason they have been named The New Orleans Advocate’s boys and girls high school golfers of the year.
Both Nick and Abbey have been playing for most of their young lives. They rely on a competitive side, not to mention that God-given talent, to drive their games to lower scores.
“It’s good to have a family where we all play golf,” Nick said. “We all love to play and we play quite a bit as a foursome. Sometimes, when you play bad, it can be a bit aggravating because we all want to win. But then again, I can ask my mom, my dad, or my sister what they may see in my game and they can help me out.”
Abbey, who works with renowned swing coach Rob Noel, said “It’s cool to have my dad as my high school coach,” and that her family’s competitive side additionally assists her on course.
“Usually, it’s my mom who wins, but it can vary,” Abbey said. “Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it can be any one of us. But we have fun regardless.”
Nick cited his ability to create shots as a strength, and his mom agreed.
“Nick is really more of a consistent golfer right now,” Kay Daniel said. “But he’s really creative with his shot, sort of like a Phil Mickelson-type. Abbey’s really long off the tee.”
While there are differences between the siblings, there’s a lot of similarity as well.
“We both can be a bit streaky, but we can go low,” Nick said. “The highs tend to be high at times, and the lows tend to be low at times. But it balances itself out.”
The balance swung toward low scores for both Nick and Abbey at the state championships — at Les Vieux Chenes for the girls, and at Farm d’Allie for the boys. Both courses are in Lafayette, and the Daniels looked strong in both tournaments.
For Abbey, she said being an eighth-grader and playing against girls four or five years older wasn’t especially intimidating.
“I’m kind of used to it, honestly,” Abbey said. “I’ve been playing summer tournaments against girls a few years older than me for a while.”
For Abbey, recent tournaments included a victory in a Future Tour Championship in Greenville, Mississippi, a few weeks ago, as well a solid showing at the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National in April. The unique opportunities fortified her belief in her game, though she’s not certain just yet if she’ll pursue a professional golfing career.
“I’m not going to be unrealistic,” she said. “I’m probably not going to play pro golf. But I want to play in college. The school is the most important thing for me.”
Nick’s goal is to continue playing both basketball and golf at Hannan. He would like to play golf in college as well but is holding off on making a commitment.
“I do feel a lot of pressure, because a lot of people who golf a lot at my age already are making college choices,” he said. “You just have to take deep breaths and stay focused. You focus on the small things and don’t let your mind wander.”
Grant Glorioso, Jesuit
Glorioso shot a 78 on the first day and a 70 on the second day of the Division I golf championships at the par-72 Farm d’ Allie to finish third in leading Jesuit to a fifth-place finish.
Colin Troxler, Hahnville
Repeat All-Metro selection shot 76 and 74 for a 150 in the Division I golf championships at Farm d’ Allie to finish tied for fifth in the individual standings.
Beau Briggs, St. Paul’s
Repeat All-Metro selection shot 78 and 72 for a 150 in the Division I golf championships at Farm d’ Allie to finish tied for fifth in the individual standings.
Camille Simon, Ben Franklin
Simon shot a 74 the first day and an 83 the second for a two-day score of 157 to finish second in the Division I championships at Les Vieux Chenes.
Madeline Gordon, Country Day
Gordon shot 82 and 81 for a two-day score of 163 to finish fourth in the Division II championships at Les Vieux Chenes.
Julia Simon, Lusher
Simon shot 82 and 82 for a two-day score of 164 to finish sixth in the Division II championships at Les Vieux Chenes.