1995 U.S. Open winner Corey Pavin mesmerized the room of more than 100 Tuesday at the Annual SCGA Foundation Golf Tournament reception, sharing captivating and emotional stories of both his amateur and professional golf career. Pavin was the main attraction of the day that included golf, dinner and a live auction, held at Wilshire CC. The event netted a total of $150,000 for the Foundation.
“It’s great hearing what the Foundation is doing with its Youth on Course program,” Pavin started by saying. “It is opening avenues for young people who wouldn’t otherwise have them.”
The current Champions Tour member then dove right in, sharing stories and experiences he himself had as a junior golfer. He admitted to playing “tons of golf” from ages 10-17, enough to propel him to a full scholarship at UCLA. That, for Pavin, is where the dream of being a professional golfer first became a reality.
“We all have dreams sitting out on the range, pretending you’re playing in the U.S. Open or some other major,” said Pavin. “For me, that dream became a realistic one after my second year at UCLA.”
He passed along messages of encouragement to the five SCGA Foundation scholars and one Youth on Course member sitting in the audience, explaining to them that his success didn’t always come on the first try. In fact, he remember struggling during his first year at UCLA, intimidated and outmatched by the collegiate competition, before coming back for his sophomore season and racking up an impressive six victories.
“Even my first attempt to get my TOUR card didn’t pan out,” said Pavin. “My first try at Q-school I didn’t make it, so I went and played in South Africa and Europe. I came back in 1984, tried again, and made it.”
Pavin also struck a chord with the older generation in the room, recalling memories from decades ago that most golf fans surely remember. He spoke of the 1981 Walker Cup, in which he and his teammates won at the storied Cypress Point Club.
“I still get goose bumps thinking about it,” said Pavin. “Being at Cypress Point early in the morning, hearing bagpipes, and then seeing them come out of the fog … it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
And while the U.S. Open win will forever remain Pavin’s fondest golf memory, it may have surprised some people in the audience to hear that there was a close second. Pavin acknowledged that his victory at the U.S. bank Championship in Milwaukee in July of 2006 stands far above the rest.
“That win really meant a lot,” said Pavin. “I hadn’t won in 10 years, and you start to wonder if you’ll ever win again. It was also the first time my wife got to see me win an event. After the U.S. Open, that one definitely means the second most to me.”
As it turned out, it was also Pavin’s final win on the PGA Tour, although the now 52 year old went on to win his first Champions Tour event in February of this year.
Also speaking at the event was SCGA Foundation Scholar Elyse Polk, who shared how golf changed her life and helped her reach her goal of attending UCLA, and Youth on Course member Deonte Bell, who expressed his passion for the game of golf and how much Youth on Course has helped him experience it.
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