Huge celebrations are taking place today in Russia’s capital city to celebrate Moscow City Day. But there will certainly be a glass or two raised in honour of Andrey Pavlov, who made history by becoming the first Russian to make the cut at a European Tour event at this week’s M2M Russian Open.
The 28 year old broke new ground in world golf after a two under par second round 69 earned him a level par total to make the midway cut on the mark, sparking some emotional scenes at Skolkovo Golf Club among those who have worked tirelessly for years to develop the game of golf in Russia.
Pavlov’s story is even more inspirational given the hardship he endured earlier this year when he made international sports news for the wrong reason. He carded a 17 on a single hole, the par five first, at the Lyoness Open Powered by Greenfinity, a score which was picked up by news channels around the world and caused a stir on social media.
Many would have crumbled under the attention that such an unfortunate moment brought, but not Pavlov. The incident only made him stronger and his interminable determination to succeed paid off in spades as he delighted the home fans at the M2M Russian Open by writing his name in the record books.
“It is pretty special, definitely,” he said. “After my round I was nervous of course, I was checking the cut line every minute to see if I was in or not because I was right on the line, and I was really happy when I discovered I made it.
“It was a very long day for me, a lot of nerves. I went to bed at around nine o’clock afterwards but I only got to sleep at around 11. I didn’t celebrate, I wanted to take it seriously at the weekend.
“It’s been down to my own hard work over the years. My family looks at golf a little bit like a hobby but it’s not a hobby for me, it’s my job. They don’t know golf at all, they like football and ice hockey more.
“When I tell people here I play golf for a living they ask me, are you OK? I think the game is growing in Russia though. New golf courses are going to open in the next couple of years and I hope a new generation comes up from that.
“We have got a couple of young guys who are really good right now, one of them is 21 and the other one is 14. Hopefully they can reach the top eventually.”
Speaking of his experience in Austria earlier this year, he said: “It wasn’t a nice experience but I learned from it. I hit a ball into the water so I had to drop in a waste area and it plugged. Then instead of just going safe left, I went for the pin and I tried it six times. You know what, everyone can have a big score at a hole, but I just have to continue playing my golf.
“It was difficult you know, I was on ESPN and all around the world. But I didn’t want to pick up my ball and just walk off the course, I had to play on because it would not have been a comfortable situation for my playing partners. It’s my job to play on and I didn’t want to be selfish.”
It is a remarkable story and will surely inspire many other players from less developed golfing nations to dig deep in times of adversity and just keep chasing birdies.
|T4||MARTIN BENAVIDES, Pablo||ESP||18||-12|