Preferred the idea of playing rather than caddying, and took up the game at the age of nine, taught by his grandfather at Bogliago Golf Club on Lake Garda in Northern Italy. Finished runner-up in a Challenge Tour event as an amateur and turned pro soon after in 1992. Enjoyed his best year on Tour in 1998, winning a six figure sum for the first time, thanks to a third place finish in the Benson and Hedges International Open and tied second in the Peugeot Open de France. Finished 118th in the Volvo Order of Merit but regained his card at the 1999 Qualifying School. Shot 30 for the front nine in the second round at Sotogrande on his way to getting his card.