Brandon Matthews’ fall semester has been as demanding as a professional internship.
After a junior season where he set a new school-record for stroke average at 71, and he tied the program record for wins with eight, Matthews began his pursuit of a professinal career by competing for his PGA tour card.
“He’s experiencing two worlds,” coach Brian Quinn said. “He’s experiencing the world he knows at Temple and how he lives as a tour player. This is like an internship for him right now.”
In order to obtain a PGA tour card, a player must first apply for entry to qualifying “school,” a common name for a series of preliminary tournaments. There are a series of fees that range from as low as $2,500 to as high as $6,000, depending on the stage.
Matthews had to compete in the pre-qualifying events in September before participating in the first stage, which was held in October.
The second stage was held Nov. 10-13 in Brooksville, Florida, where Mattthews finished 56th out of 77 golfers. The senior did not advance to the final stage, Dec. 10-13. Matthews needs to finish in the Top 25 of the final stage to earn a spot on the Web.com tour, the PGA’s developmental circuit.
“It was a great experience,” Matthews said “I feel like I belong out there. I will draw from the experience in the future and allow it to help me grow and develop as I continue my golf career.”
This fall, Matthews also participated in the Western Refining All-America Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas Nov. 7-8, finishing 13th out of 22 golfers with a five-over par 218. The event followed the team’s final event of the semester, the Visit Stockton Pacific Invite in Stockton, California Oct. 29-31—where Matthews tied for 40th in the 88-player field.
Matthews withdrew from the team’s first event in Hartford Sept. 21-22 due to a back injury and missed the Wolfpack Invitational Oct. 5-6 due to competing in the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying school at Pine Mountain, Georgia. Matthews was the only amateur in the 77-player field at the first stage and tied for 14th with an 11-under par.
“This is a big change in his life coming,” Quinn said. “There’s so much going on in his mind. This kid has so much greatness in him.”
The senior started and finished four of the team’s six events this fall. In those four tournaments, his stroke average was 73.5. He had just one round lower than his 2014-15 stroke average of 71.
“This was the worst semester I’ve had at Temple,” Matthews said.
Last season, Matthews had a stretch where he won three straight tournaments.
The senior did not crack the Top 5 in any of the four events he completed this semester, finishing in the Top 10 twice. The senior’s last tournament title was April 12 at the Princeton Invitational.
“It was just a tough semester for me, and I really haven’t been playing the best golf at all,” Matthews said. “I’ve been trying to block things out as best as I possibly can. … Maybe I just need to take some time off and that could be it.”
Greg Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @g_frank6.