San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

From Italy, SDSU men’s golf’s Riccardo Michelini now in the driver’s seat

Sarah Smith

After moving 6,000 miles away from home in Italy, it took only one visit to Southern California for senior Riccardo Michelini to realize that San Diego State was the right choice to start his collegiate golf career in 2012.

It was a dream scenario.

“SDSU was my first visit and even though I was in contact with other schools, I didn’t really want to visit anywhere else, so I just didn’t,” Michelini said with a grin.

Michelini’s dream started in the small town of Carpi in northern Italy, where golf is not as accessible as it is in America.

With one course within 15 miles of his home, Michelini regarded himself as “lucky” to be able to play the game he loved growing up.

“I come from a normal family,” Michelini said. “Golf … is seen as more of a sport for rich people where I’m from.  Luckily my father was very into golf and he would let me come with him to the country club he played at and that is how I learned to play.”

This practice with his father, Giuliano, prepared him to play for the Italian national boys team when he was just 15 years old.

Michelini said he was grateful for the time he spent on the Italian national team and that it helped him prepare for competitive golf here in America.

Even though he was well-prepared coming into college, Michelini admitted to becoming a much more mature and experienced player during his time with the Aztecs.

“I’ve grown a lot from the standpoint that I don’t have a swing coach here in America,” he said. “I relied on my coach a lot back in Italy to make adjustments.  Now I either have to Skype with my coach or just figure it out myself.”

Experience from Michelini’s difficult path to SDSU helps him adjust to becoming a leader on the team entering his senior season.

After losing the team’s star player Xander Schaufelle to graduation last season, Michelini is now the most experienced Aztec on the roster and is expected to take on a bigger role.

“(Senior) Ryann (Ree) and I will have to be the guys to step up,” Michelini said.

Ree transferred to SDSU from University of Oregon last season.

One way Michelini said he could step up his game this season is to improve his putting and attitude on the course.

“I need to show emotions on the course, but need to control it better,” he said.  “Putting was the weakest part of my game by far last year and it used to be one of my strengths.”

Michelini has had a tremendous career as an Aztec already and is looking to add another solid year to his resumé, one that already includes a Mountain West Freshman of the Year award in 2012-2013 and an All-Mountain West selection in 2013-14.

The coaching staff has been more than pleased with Michelini’s performance at SDSU thus far.

Michelini’s skill mixed with his maturity level makes him a candidate to take his game to the professional level after he graduates this season.

He already has some professional experience, making an appearance on the European Tour in 2013 with the Italian national team.

Michelini’s plan after college is to go to Canadian Q-School — a method most golfers use to qualify for the professional ranks — and try to become an official professional golfer.

“Any tour will do for me,” Michelini said. “I could envision myself climbing the ranks on the European Tour and maybe one day even playing on the PGA Tour.”

However, professional golf is not the only career option Michelini has available to him.

As a public administration major, Michelini has plenty of options after he graduates from SDSU this spring.

About the Contributor
Sarah Smith, Assistant Photo Editor
Sarah Smith is a senior at San Diego State University seeking a bachelor’s degree in the performing arts with a minor in Child and Family Development. Sarah has been an active member in Alpha Phi sorority throughout her time at State and recently returned from her semester abroad where she studied at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. She has been a staff photographer for The Daily Aztec since her sophomore year and has enjoyed photographing everything from sports to concerts to events like Greenfest. Sarah hopes to one day move to Los Angeles and become a successful film actress.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
From Italy, SDSU men’s golf’s Riccardo Michelini now in the driver’s seat