One golf buddy to another, PGA TOUR star Justin Rose congratulates St. Jude patient Dakota on his hole-in-one

Justin Rose, British star of the PGA TOUR and former U.S. Open winner, sent 14-year-old Dakota a surprise minute-and-a-half video congratulating him on his recent golf exploits — most notably, his first hole in a one.

“Dakota, hey buddy, it’s Justin … ”

Let’s face it, Dakota, a 14-year-old who completed treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at St. Jude in February, has cooler golf buddies than the rest of us.

Justin is Justin Rose, British star of the PGA TOUR and former U.S. Open winner, sending Dakota a surprise minute-and-a-half video congratulating him on his recent golf exploits — most notably, his first hole in a one.

“I’m proud of you, I’m proud of your golf, but more important I’m proud of your spirit, and your perseverance,” Rose said in the video. “I can use your own stories many, many times with my own son — just of all the great qualities that you have, and you’ve displayed. Your family must be very proud.”

The two met last summer at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. When Rose came up a little short on a 50-foot putt for charity, Dakota stepped up and coolly sank the remaining five-footer — clinching a $50,000 donation from FedEx.

Later that day, he had his latest chemotherapy treatment.

A few months later, still golfing between chemo treatments, Dakota broke 70 for the first time, during the final middle school tournament of the year. The final shot for the round of 69 was a 6-foot putt — just slightly longer than the one Rose watched him sink last summer.

No pressure, right? Not for a kid who’s faced far worse and prevailed.

“We all know you can make those,” Rose said in the video. “St. Jude hospital knows that you can make those pressure puts, sinking that 50 grand putt for them. So of course we had a lot of faith in you.”

It’s all the more impressive considering Dakota only seriously took up golf during treatment. Soccer had been his game, but he needed to switch to something less rough-and-tumble because of his condition. So he chose golf —like his dad, Steve, who used to compete on pro developmental tours.

Now, Dakota is playing competitively and envisioning his own possible pro career. With ALL treatment complete and his first hole-in-one already in the bag, who’s to say what’s ahead?

“You just hang in there, buddy, and keep going,” Rose said at the end of the video. “The things that you’ve been through, clearly tough, but they’re going to stand you in great stead for the rest of your life.

“All right, hopefully I’ll get to see you soon. All the best, bud.”

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