Saddleback College golfer Roberto Llevana came to the U.S. to further his education. Llevana has become a huge impact for the golf team, leading them to the victory of the 2016 season. (Austin Weatherman/ Lariat)
From a young age, Saddleback College golfer Roberto Llevana knew he wanted to be successful. Hailing from Mexico City, Mexico, Llevana was born into the sport of golf due to his family and environment.
“I grew up on a country club, so it was either that, swim or tennis, so I started playing golf when I was little,” Llevana said. “My grandfather actually took me to play.”
Going through grade school, Llevana expressed that he had wanted a better education to set himself up for success in the future. He felt like his calm town didn’t possess the tools he needed to better himself. After sophomore year, he finally put his plan into action to further his education.
“So one week before school started, I jumped onto a plane to Austin, Texas,” Llevana said. “From there, I started in the schools and saw my future was better here. I went through the process of registering in schools and getting citizenship. I had to go back to Mexico to fix some papers a few times, but it was a fun process.”
After leaving his family in Mexico City, Llevana continued playing golf while continuing his studies in Texas. Llevana said he played well at his old high school, but golfing in Texas was more intense.
“Texas high school teams are like division one players,” Llevana said. “All of them are playing in like Oklahoma State, Harvard, and other schools. It was really hard to shine.”
Llevana had the opportunity to take sixth place in the regionals tournament. He also played in a few Amateur Golfers Association tournaments, making his presence known in the golfing community. After graduation, Llevana had the option to study at Baylor University or move to California and attend at a University of California.
“After high school, I wanted to go to California,” Llevana said. “My aunt said she lived next to a good community college with the best transfers to UC colleges. So I packed up and left Texas. Now I am here at Saddleback.”
Llevana has played golf with Saddleback for two years now, having had a taste of both coaching styles from the year before and today’s coach, Wayne Westling.
“Last year’s coaches, they were football coaches so I can understand their attention was there,” Llevana said. ”Coach Westling is focused on us. He is amazing.”
Golfer Roberto Lievana lines up his shot on the fairway. He lead his team to victory, shooting a 74. (Courtesy of Saddleback Sports Information)
Llevana started the 2016 season of with a score of 74, being the only player in the tournament to shoot par on the day. Since the Orange Empire Classic, the team as a whole has placed from second to fifth. Llevana described the season as a rollercoaster but hopes to make it to state.
“We can still make it to state, but we have to tighten up our game in these last matches,” Llevana said. “I’ve had my ups and downs. Sometimes I’m bad with some of the clubs in my bag. I am good with my seven iron but I suck with my putter.”
Practice makes perfect, but mental blocks can affect how a golfer’s round may go that day. Llevana is a shot-by-shot player, only focusing on what needs to be done at that moment. Players often times hit the golfing range, practicing their stroke, but Llevana doesn’t go with the crowd.
“I go to the putting green and work on my short game the day before. I try to forget about my long game and focus on the short game,” Llevana said. “I am in the moment. I forget about what is going on, I just focus on the shot I have to do and basically have somewhere I want to be in the match, but basically it’s black. “
Llevana said golf isn’t his life, his education is his highest priority.
“I am studying financial actuarial mathematics, basically measuring risks for businesses,” he said. “My plan is getting a bachelor’s from hopefully UCLA so I can work anywhere in the world. It will allow me to go back to Mexico and help.”
Even with the past season and the bad games, Llevana is grateful for his teammates and his overall experience with them.
“I love my team,” he said. “Other schools have some problems between themselves, but we all get along very well.”
The men’s golf team has four matches left until the OEC Championship on Monday, April 25.