By: Christine Pinder
Contributors: Doug Johnson, Michael Tolvo
Former Cypress High School and FGCU golfer Daniel Mazziotta continues to represent his alma mater well following a win at the Mundo Maya Open at the Yucatan Country Club in Mexico two weeks ago. The victory Mazziotta clinched on Apr. 6 with a winning total of 10-under 278 has put him one step closer to becoming the second FGCU player to participate in the PGA Tour.
Over four years at FGCU, Mazziotta – a 2011 FGCU graduate – helped set the standard for excellence in men’s golf. He became the first player in FGCU program history to be named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team. In his senior season, Mazziotta recorded a scoring average of 71.6, which still stands as the second best in program history. His career scoring average of 73.1 also ranks second all-time at FGCU. During his senior campaign, Mazziotta shattered the previous program record of 18 par-or-better rounds with 21 such rounds. Mazziotta also holds the program record for most birdies in a single season with 121.
Mazziotta is currently participating on the PGA’s NEC Series, a set of 16 tournaments in 10 countries throughout Latin America which is played in two halves: March-May and October-December. The top-five players on the money list at the end of the series will automatically receive Web.com Tour cards, which brings them one step closer to competing on the PGA Tour. Mazziotta currently ranks second on the list after four events.
Mazziotta placed fourth in his first event at the Arturo Calle Colombian Open, winning him $5,655. He then failed to make the cut in his second event at the TransAmerican Power Products CRV Open. The Fort Myers native then finished 39th at the Stella Artois Open, but his victory at the Mundo Maya Open was good for $27,000. Mazziotta has earned a total of $33,413 through four events this year, which puts him only $1,125 behind the first-place player, David Vanegas of Columbia ($34,538).
Unfortunately, Mazziotta’s time as a pro has not been all sunny, 75-degree weather. Since becoming pro immediately following his graduation from FGCU, Mazziotta had a difficult time financially supporting his pro lifestyle. The Green and Blue standout often had to pay all of his expenses to participate in events. At times, his lack of funding forced him to s
kip a few events so that he could save up enough money to participate in more important events. At one point, Mazziotta had to make the humbling move back to Fort Myers to take a job at a local golf course.
Fortunately, he met Ryan Nivakoff. Nivakoff, an agent and manager with Parvus Rex Golf, LLC., had the opportunity to watch Mazziotta play a few rounds of golf. Nivakoff’s Bonita Springs-based company decided to graciously cover all of Mazziotta’s expenses so that he could continue to compete on a professional level. All Mazziotta had to do to hold up his end of the deal was pay the company a percentage of his winnings. Since the initial agreement, Mazziotta has said he is free to go out and completely enjoy the game that he loves. He no longer worries about tournament fees or travel expenses. The immense relief in stress has helped Mazziotta elevate his game.
With the end of the first half of the NEC Series tour season fast approaching, Mazziotta is looking to continue his great play on the PGA Tour Canada after May. He hopes the added rounds will keep him sharp as he prepares for NEC Series play, which resumes in October.