COLUMBIA — Hickman seniors Cruz Buchanan and Tyler Daly have been playing on the boys golf team since they were freshmen.
And they won't be separated by graduation. The two will be roommates and teammates next year at William Woods University in Fulton.
But before Buchanan and Daly head off to William Woods, they will be competing as individuals at Wednesday's Class 4 sectional tournament at A.L. Gustin Golf Course. The two will be representing Hickman at the 18-team event. Teammate Matthew Garner will join them there.
Buchanan and Daly continuously trade each other for the No. 1 spot on the team this year, but they got very different starts in the sport.
Daly's grandfather showed him how to play golf when he was 12 years old because he needed a playing partner. Before high school, Daly had treated golf as a hobby.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play high school golf,” Daly said. “But in ninth grade I just thought, why not, let's see what happens.”
With a friendly glance and a smirk, Daly lowered his voice, “Then I met Cruz.”
Buchanan, the more outspoken of the two, got a head start on Daly. His father began teaching him the game when he was four years old. However, it took Buchanan awhile before he committed to golf.
“I started really playing to get better in seventh grade,” Buchanan said. “My dad started me off in the Country Club of Columbia with their junior golf program, but seventh grade was when I really started to want to get better.”
Although Buchanan and Daly recognized their passion for golf differently, they both identified, without hesitation, their least favorite part of the game.
“Slumps,” Buchanan and Daly said emphatically.
“I had one at the end of last golf season at the state tournament and through the summer,” Buchanan said. “That gets you close to wanting to quit.”
However, slumps like that have allowed both of them to grow into their leadership role at Hickman.
“We are the seniors and top two players on the team,” said Daly. “We have to set an example by the way we play to hopefully push the younger guys to play their best.”
Buchanan agreed, adding, “We don’t have any days where we just go out to the course to beat the ball around.”
The two also look forward to pushing each other at William Woods.
“It’s going to be a continuation of high school,” Buchanan said. “We’re going to have pretty much the same schedule, so it will be nice to go out and practice together and have someone to push you when it comes to the way you go about practicing and how you manage yourself on the course.”
The last time the two played against each other at A.L. Gustin was April 4 during the Columbia Classic when Buchanan beat Daly by five strokes, shooting a 72 to Daly’s 77.
Daly is looking forward to Wednesday, as he joked with Buchanan, saying he hopes to even the score.
“I’m not going to be mad if he comes out and beats me,” Buchanan said in response. “I’m going to be happy for him. But we’ll still be pushing each other to play our best.”