Ben Pisani finds himself in Minnesota

He is one of four foreign-born players on the golf team.

John Hageman

Ben Pisani is a lot like any other student at the University of Minnesota. He enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, watching Gophers football on Saturday and even the occasional cheeseburger. Despite his standard American practices, the Minnesota senior led the menâÄôs golf team in stroke average and top-20 finishes last year, which has solidified the AussieâÄôs spot in the lineup of a highly-respected golf program. PisaniâÄôs story begins in Brisbane, Australia where at an early age he learned the game of golf from his dad who consistently shot 1-over par. Growing up he played several sports, but after many days spent at the golf course with friends, Pisani decided that golf was something he really enjoyed and began taking seriously at the age of 15. In high school, Pisani won several tournaments and was named to the 2006 Australian National Squad. After graduation, he took a year off to play amateur golf. PisaniâÄôs junior record caught the eye of fellow Australian and MinnesotaâÄôs Director of Golf Brad James and associate head coach Andrew Tank, who brought Pisani to Minnesota in June 2006. âÄúMentally and emotionally he was very mature for his age.âÄù James said. âÄúAt that time, he may not have been the best player at that tournament âĦ but I was looking for what type of player he could potentially be.âÄù But living up to that potential proved difficult for Pisani early in his collegiate career as he struggled to adjust to a new lifestyle. âÄúTo begin with, I was a little unsettled, and I missed home a lot,âÄù he said. âÄúEventually I got over those things and my game came around.âÄù Tank said PisaniâÄôs struggles have made him a better golfer. âÄúI think the good thing is that he has gone through some adversity here at Minnesota,âÄù Tank said. âÄúThat has forced him to learn about himself and I think that is why he is really starting to come into his own now.âÄù As one of only two seniors on the team, PisaniâÄôs coaches see him as the leader for the young squad âÄî a role he is comfortable with. âÄúFrom where IâÄôve come from in my freshman year to where I am now, IâÄôve done some things well and IâÄôve done some things not so well,âÄù he said. âÄúI can draw from those experiences to guide the younger fellows.âÄù The senior has made headlines already this year by shooting a 65 in the opening round of the Gopher Invitational, a course record that only lasted a day. âÄúI felt like I was in control of what I was doing that day,âÄù he said. âÄúIt gives me a little extra belief that I can shoot low on very tough courses.âÄù Pisani will need this extra confidence going into his career, as he plans to begin his long journey to the PGA tour. âÄúIt takes some time and itâÄôs a bit of a process,âÄù he said, âÄúbut itâÄôs one I am looking forward to.âÄù After graduating, Pisani plans to enter into Q-school âÄî a rigorous PGA qualifying tournament. But for now, he is still looking forward to the rest of his senior year âÄî one that he hopes will end in success. âÄúThere is no doubt in our minds that we want to win the Big Ten championship this year,âÄù Pisani said.