Sports

Golf sees conference change as opportunity

Two national powerhouses await in The American.

The American: Operating Expenses for 2011-2012 Reporting Year

At the conclusion of the Atlantic 10 Championships this past weekend, the golf team’s transition to the American Athletic Conference had officially begun.

The move to The American provides the Owls with an opportunity to compete against two of the best teams in the nation in Southern Methodist and Houston, both ranked in the Top 25 nationally by the Golf Coaches Association of America poll. Coach Brian Quinn said playing against some of the top teams in the nation gives his team a chance to gain national attention.

“It’s going to be great for our kids because we’ll be competing in our conference championship with some great schools,” Quinn said. “Houston has a bunch of national championships and SMU has a great coach out there.”

The golf team’s departure from the A-10 to The American will make for an adjustment with their regular season schedule. Unlike most collegiate sports, the golf team doesn’t play head-to-head matches, but competes in tournaments. Quinn said he’s happy to expand his team’s schedule, but won’t sacrifice the tradition of Big 5 golf.

“We’ll see St. Joe’s and La Salle all over the place, just not at the conference tournament,” Quinn said. “We’ll play some other tournaments and travel a little bit more. We’re definitely going to play a much bigger schedule.”

Freshman Brandon Matthews, who won a conference record eight A-10 Rookie of the Week awards this year, said he won’t look too far into the conference move. He said that golf is an individual sport and you still have to play your game to be successful.

“You still have to play golf, you still have to get the ball into the hole, it’s going to be a great opportunity and a great fit for us,” Matthews said. “If we play well we’re going to be fine regardless of the competition, we just need to go out and play better against better competition.”

But the Owls’ biggest challenge may be fiscally. The golf team is only allotted three scholarships per year in comparison to four and a half that the top-tier teams use. Quinn is the only coach on the Owls roster who does not have a paid assistant. SMU and Houston – the projected powerhouses of The American – each have an assistant coach listed on their roster.

“We need more scholarships and more funding,” Quinn said. “We do a lot of our funding by ourselves. For us to compete at the highest level we need to see some more funding for our program.”

While the Owls may not have the funding they would like to have to compete at the highest level, Quinn said they have one thing going for them – their practice facility. The Owls practice at some of the best courses in the greater Philadelphia area. Quinn owns BQ Golf Academy in Conshohocken, a practice facility that his team uses.

“From our standpoint my kids are afforded the opportunity to play some of the best clubs in the area,” Quinn said.

Quinn said he’s enjoyed his time in the A-10 and made some great friends, most notably St. Joe’s coach Bob Lynch who Quinn called his best friend in college golf.

“[Lynch] was a good mentor for me coming up and I’m going to miss him,” Quinn said. “It’s amazing watching kids from all over grow up in front of you, you become so familiar with some of the kids, there’s a nice feel to our conference to a degree, I’m going to miss that.”

Anthony Bellino can be reached at anthony.bellino@temple.edu or on Twitter @Bellino_Anthony.

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