By Sarah Grimmer
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
It all began with a little wooden golf club.
Three-year-old Andrea Pavan could be seen alongside his father out at the golf course in Rome, Italy, attempting to mimick the game with the little wooden golf club his father had given him. What seemed like child’s play at the time turned out to be a lifelong passion and future career for Pavan.
“I don’t remember playing much when I was young but I remember that it came naturally to me,” Pavan said. “My dad’s love and passion for the sport was something that transferred over to me.”
Pavan officially began playing golf at the age of six and continued to play competitively throughout his high school career. Growing up, he traveled with his father to the United States to compete in numerous golf tournaments. Pavan was also introduced to collegiate athletics on these trips.
“In Italy, sports are separated from academic,” Pavan said. “There are no high school teams. I would go to school then go play golf at a club. My dad saw the opportunity here to be able to study and play at the same time."
Now a major asset to the Aggie men’s golf team, Pavan had never even heard of Texas A&M before talking to Head Coach J.T. Higgins.
“I remember seeing him in the European Team Championship in Como, Italy,” Higgins said. “There were a total of 120 players from 20 different countries and Andrea caught my attention with his low score . We had to have him.”
Pavan didn’t have a difficult time transitioning to college, or to a new country.
“Everyone was so friendly and I honestly can’t remember being homesick,” Pavan said. “I enjoyed every minute. I wasn’t even able to drive yet but the guys [on the team] were always ready to help. It was like getting another family.”
“I think Andrea came in over his head at first,” Higgins said. “He was very young but adjusted quickly.”
Playing in only one tournament his freshman year and finishing in 56th place, Pavan was determined to make it to the top. A year later, he earned PING All-Region honors and ranked second on the team with a 73.84 scoring average which included four top 10 finishes.
In his junior year, he continued to improve his game by earning All-Big 12 honors playing in every tournament of the year with a 73.23 scoring average. The highlight of the year came when the Aggies won a National Championship. In the championship match, Pavan dominated his final two matches to include an eight up with seven holes remaining to secure the victory.
Now in his senior year, Pavan has shown no signs of stopping. Pavan maintained a 71.77 scoring average before post-season play and is currently ranked 15th in the country by Golfstat. He also won the John Burns Intercollegiate tournament in Hawaii this spring by firing 70-69-65 (13 under par) for three rounds to claim a two shot victory. Also on his list of accomplishments, Pavan tied for a third place finish at this year’s Big 12 Championship. He is now preparing to undertake Regional’s and a National Championship to close out his highly successful collegiate career.
“I love the game,” Pavan said. “It is a game that reveals who you are, what you are made of. It is a very intricate sport where you are always looking for little accomplishments, a sport where there is always room for improvement. I don’t think there is anything in life that can make you feel better than a good putt or hitting it square on the club face."
Graduating this fall, Pavan’s golf career is only going to continue at the next level. With plans to attend Q-school, he is ready to become a professional.
“My coach has been a big influence on me,” Pavan said. “He emphasizes hard work and mental toughness and I know it is something that will pay off. I am ready for whatever the future holds.”
“Passionate. That is the best word to use to describe Andrea,” Higgins said. “There is no limit to what he can achieve in golf. He takes it seriously and leads the other guys on the team by his actions. He has the potential to be one of the best in the world. Andrea really is the complete package.”