Sports

Matthews embracing role as leader

Entering his senior season, Brandon Matthews is looking out for the younger golfers on the roster.

Before the start of every tournament,  Brandon Matthews can be found studying the course.

Surrounding Matthews, who was an honorable mention All-American last season, are his teammates, listening to what wisdom the senior has to share.

“He’s just such a great player to have as a mentor on the team,” sophomore Mark Farley said.  “Whenever he says something, you definitely want to listen to it and apply it.”

Matthews, who owns the school record for lowest stroke average per round at 71, is the leader of a team that lost three seniors to graduation and is returning four underclassmen.

The Dupont, Pennsylvania native, who placed in the Top 10 in 11 of the Owls’ 12 tournaments last season, said he wants to teach his teammates the key to becoming a consistent golfer.

“Attitude is the biggest possible thing you can teach and grow,” Matthews said. “If you have a good attitude, your golf game is going to follow.”

Being a leader is something the two-time All-Region selection has grown accustomed to during his time with the Owls.

Matthews, who last season tied the program record for career wins with eight, has been a team captain for the past two seasons and has been able to watch his teammates develop through the years.

“It’s been fun for me to see some of these kids grow and get better,” Matthews said. “Even if it’s something very small, I can say I was a part of them growing.”

Sophomore Evan Thornton noticed the difference Matthews’ presence made on his golf game.

Thornton, who was a linchpin to back-to-back undefeated seasons and Berks County championships for his Wyomissing Area High School team,  credited Matthews with aiding his transition to college golf.

“I kind of coasted through high school and junior golf just because I was talented,” Thornton said. “Brandon really ingrained in my head what hard work really does.”

During the season when Thornton practiced and competed with Matthews, he observed how composed the senior is while playing.

“He’s so optimistic on and off the golf course,” Thornton said.  “Any situation, he really sees the silver lining in it. He really did a nice job of teaching me how to be level-headed.”

Thornton, who had a 77.9 stroke average — fourth highest on the team — and four Top 40 finishes, said his success can be attributed to Matthews’ leadership.

“I definitely wouldn’t be as good of a player,” Thornton said.  “He really helped me grow up this year off the golf course too realizing what’s important and what’s not and taking every moment as a chance to seize the opportunity.”

With his final season at Temple approaching, Matthews wants to keep an eye on the younger players and observe their maturity.

He said his work is not finished until he sees players like Farley and Thornton carry themselves on the golf course how he teaches them.

“Not everyone is going to be able to turn professional,” Matthews said. “But to see someone handle themselves accordingly on the golf course is an unbelievable thing.”

Greg Frank can be reached at Greg.Frank@Temple.edu or on Twitter @g_frank6

 

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