Stone born, raised in golf lifestyle
By Jason Haddix
When he was 18 months old, his parents gave him his first set of golf clubs. They were made of plastic, and he could be found swinging them all around his house.
The IU freshman has come a long way from dodging coffee tables in the living room and chairs in the kitchen on his way to sinking a putt into a plastic cup. Now, he is taking cuts with titanium drivers and walking the links of some of the best courses in the nation representing the Hoosiers.
Before coming to Bloomington, Stone worked his way through several levels of junior golf, both in Indiana and across the nation.
“Golf has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Stone said. “I started playing the par th course in Evansville when I was like 3 or 4.”
His tournament career began when he was a 4-year-old playing in the Evansville Junior Golf Association. He said that was a big part of his early development in golf and helped him stay focused on the sport.
“I started playing in state tournaments for the Indiana Golf Foundation,” Stone said. “That kind of opened my eyes to where it is not just kids in Evansville, and I am not the best.”
And once Stone began high school, IU Coach Mike Mayer began to take notice of his play.
“I was able to get such a good feeling about this young man because of the relationship we established early,” Mayer said. “He did a great job making it known he wanted to play for Indiana University.”
At Harrison High School, Stone made the state championship finals three times. He finished fifth his sophomore year and struggled a little the following year, finishing 32nd.
Stone said his father Scott was an inspiration for him and a significant reason why he played golf.
Scott Stone guided Carmi High School to the Illinois State Championship during his junior and senior years.
It was Sean’s senior year when everything came together and became a state champion. He led Harrison to the state championship and captured the individual title all while being the No. 2 player on his team.
“Sean was the No. 2 player for his high-school team, and I don’t recruit many No. 2 players from high-school teams,” Mayer said. “When I hear that a player from Evansville has the potential to be good, it always peaks my interest.”
Once he arrived in Bloomington, Stone said, he had to work hard to get playing time on a team with five seniors.
Mayer said Stone had a strong summer and qualifying tournament and earned the right to play as an individual in the season-opening tournament.
His performance at the Northern Intercollegiate gave him an opportunity to play again at Wolf Run Intercollegiate.
“Sean has shown he can play with these kids,” senior golfer Brant Peaper said. “He is a pretty solid player with a lot of talent.”
Mayer said that Stone has already fit in with the team, and he is not afraid to mix it up a little with his fellow Hoosiers.
“I think he has earned the respect of his teammates and has really integrated himself into the team,” Mayer said. “He is having a lot of fun, and they are having a lot of fun with him.”
Stone said his nerves have helped him focus since starting his college golfing career, and Mayer said he’s always focused when he’s playing in a tournament.
“He is a bulldog on the golf course, which is one of the things I love about him,” Mayer said. “He fights as hard as he can fight with every stroke out there and never backs down.”