By Ian Shogren
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
The path Texas Men’s Golf sophomore Gavin Hall took to Austin, Texas included a few detours.
The Pittsford, New York native enjoyed a decorated amateur career even before starting his collegiate career. Hall qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Country Club, in which he was the youngest competitor in the star-studded field. He also advanced to the match-play portion of the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship.
Before colleges came looking at Hall or he was able to compete against the stars of the PGA TOUR, there was a chance that Hall wouldn’t be able to play the game he loved.
As a result of playing basketball, Hall suffered a torn ligament in his right wrist in the winter of 2010. From the ages of 15 to 17, Hall struggled with his game and was only able to play on and off.
“There definitely was a time when I thought I’d have to give golf up,” said Hall. “I saw a couple of doctors that said they needed to take a bone out or do an operation. Luckily the Mayo Clinic knew exactly what it was.”
In the winter of 2012, two years after the injury, Hall went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to get another opinion. As a result of conversations with doctors, Hall underwent a surgery that successfully repaired his wrist.
Following the surgery, Hall was off of the course for eight months – three months with a cast and five months of rehab. Luckily, being from upstate New York had its advantages as he was used to not playing year round and knew what he had to do to get back into playing shape.
“I was able to do the rehab and they stitched it up and repaired it all,” Hall said. “And now I feel great.”
When recruiting Hall to Texas, Head Coach John Fields wasn’t worried about the injury and actually saw it as a positive for the sophomore.
“[The wrist injuries] didn’t really set him back as a player, but it made him a little bit less comfortable going forward,” commented the longtime Texas coach. “When you have trauma like that, you kind of have a sense that you have to be looking over your shoulder for the next thing that is going to happen to you. I’m really happy that it happened to Gavin in his high school years. He’s done a great job of staying healthy. Gavin is doing a great job of looking forward. He’s just about done looking behind his shoulder and he’s ready to look ahead.”
After returning to full health in his senior year of high school, Hall planned on attending UCLA to continue his golf career. However, going to school on the West Coast wasn’t a great fit for Hall. After arriving on campus in January, Hall was released from his scholarship in February and announced his decision to attend Texas that May.
“I felt like I was able to be in my comfort zone at Texas with academics, school and my teammates,” Hall said. “I feel like I am very lucky to be at Texas.”
Hall made an immediate impact on the Longhorns in his freshman season. He started the year playing number one for Texas, including being the low finisher in his first collegiate tournament. He played in all 13 events for the Longhorns and was fourth on the team in scoring average (72.93).
Hall has continued to make an impact on Texas in his sophomore season, and currently sports the third-lowest scoring average on the team (71.24) entering the NCAA Championship. He carded his career-low round of 65 in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament, in which he placed a career-best second. He has paced the Longhorns in three tournaments this season, including a third-place finish at the NCAA Lubbock Regional.
Hall and his teammates now look to the NCAA Championship, their final tournament of the season that will be played from May 29-June 3 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” Hall said. “Our goal is to win and get an individual winner as well. But we are just taking it one day at a time.”