EastBay Today

Posted May 19, 2017

Winning Drive

Senior Adam Stone named CCAA Men's Golf Player of the Year

Senior Adam Stone has been named the California College Athletic Association's Player of the Year, following last year's honor as individual champion. Both awards are firsts in Pioneer men's golf.
Kelley L. Cox

Adam Stone doesn’t believe in dreams — he believes in goals.

“Dreams to me are something a bit far-fetched,” Stone said. “I look at things as goals I want to achieve and that I can work toward, not just dreams I wish I could do.”

His approach is paying off.  

The Cal State East Bay senior and hospitality major has won the California Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Golf Player of the Year award, just as the Pioneer men’s golf team heads into the NCAA Division II National Tournament May 22-26 in Florida. Stone is the university’s first golfer to win the CCAA honor, and the third among any sport in Pioneer history.

The CCAA Player of the Year is a special distinction that involves all of the coaches in the conference submitting a list of 10 players from competitor schools (coaches aren’t allowed to nominate their own players), and Stone shook out as the No. 1 pick of the 13 teams in the league. 

“It means a lot to me,” the 21-year-old said. “I’ve finished in the top five more often than not, and it feels really good. Now, with nationals, we’ve been waiting all year for everyone to play well at the same time, and it could be good — we’ve got the potential to win. If we make it to the [final round], we’d probably be the underdogs, but that probably suits well for us. I definitely think we have the team to do it.”

If it does happen, it will be a first for Coach Alan Sue, who was named CCAA’s Coach of the Year. Sue has been amassing successes with the Pioneer golf team over the past several years, including three straight bids to the semifinals. Stone’s teammates Chad Hall and Owen Hutchison joined him as First Team selections, which includes the remaining top nine players nominated for CCAA Player of the Year.

“Alan Sue and also Mario (Castellanos) have been a great support system to me,” Stone said. “Not only as coaches but as life mentors — they’ve been really helpful and I’ve grown a lot here. A lot of it’s been maturity. I’ve just learned to play within myself; I know what I can do and I’m not going to try to do something I can’t.”

Stone, who hails from northern England, enters the national tournament ranked 10th in the U.S. in Division II, and fourth in the region. In addition to daily practices in the Bay Area, he works with UK swing coach Ryan Dône through daily phone calls and sharing videos, which Stone says is a major factor in his success. He's preparing to turn pro in September after his athletic eligibility expires at Cal State East Bay, but while he’s still finishing up a couple more classes. His goal is to qualify for the Web.com tour in the fall, which is widely known as a gateway to the PGA tour.

“I’ve been playing golf literally from the day I could walk,” he said. “I got my first set of clubs when I was 5. I just really love it, so it’s what I want to do.” 

But Stone is all for savoring the final moments of his time as a college athlete.

“There’s a lot of things I still want to do with my amateur career,” he said. “I want to play nationals this week [for Cal State East Bay], which my parents are coming to, and it’s the first time they’ve seen me play in America. And I have the British Amateur when I go home [this summer]. And one of my goals is to make it to the Walker Cup, which [chooses players from] the whole of Great Britain to play against the U.S.” 

Before he can take on international competition, Stone will tee off alongside his fellow Pioneers in Kissimmee, Florida next week. Fellow conference teams Stanislaus State and Cal State Monterey Bay will also travel to the Division II National Tournament.