Andrew Mason was overlooked by a lot of collegiate high school coaches coming out of high school. Now the two-time Pennsylvania State Champion who graduated after the 2010–11 season is making a lot of them scratch their heads.
“Initially I wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school,” Mason said. “With age and experience I got a lot better, coach [Brian Quinn] helped me mature a lot.”
Mason, a Huntington Valley, Pa., native and 2007 graduate of Abington Friends High School — where he was a two-time league champion — won the Pennsylvania Amateur Championship in August 2012 and the Philadelphia Open at Pine Valley in late July 2012.
Quinn coached Mason in college and now continues to be his swing instructor for his amateur career. Quinn stressed how much Mason worked on his game in his first two seasons to really lay the groundwork for where he is now.
“When he first got here he worked on his game a lot and perfected both his technique and form,” Quinn said. “He has one of the best golf swings I’ve ever seen in my life and continues to improve.”
Current senior Devin Bibeau, who was Mason’s roommate at Temple, also saw the growth in Mason’s game from the time he first met him until now. Bibeau credits Mason with leadership that helped Bibeau get his game to where it is now.
“When I first came to Temple, [Mason] was a sophomore and he really learned a lot that year,” Bibeau said. “Being around him showed me hard work both on and off the course. Hard work got him to where he’s at right now.”
With each season Mason’s scores as an Owl continued to fall, as he was named to the All Atlantic 10 Conference team as a junior and senior. As a senior his 73.9 stroke average per round was more than three shots lower than the 76.3 he averaged as a freshman. Mason’s best career finish as an Owl came at the 2010 Lincoln Mercury Intercollegiate Tournament where he finished second with a score of one under par. While Mason never captured a tournament victory at Temple, Quinn said that Mason had the game to win at every collegiate event he competed in as an upperclassman.
“The last two years at Temple he could have won every week,” Quinn said. “He just happened to get on a roll and start playing really well at this point in his life.”
Mason is now making up for the wins he never got in college. In the last two years he has won the Philadelphia Open Championship two times, the Patterson Cup once and is the two-time defending champion in the Pennsylvania State Amateur Tournament. He was also named the William Hyndman III Amateur Player of the Year in 2011. Mason said he feels humbled by his accomplishments on the course, giving most of the credit to his coach.
“The last two years have been really cool for me,” Mason said. “[Quinn] helped me out a lot with my game and has helped me get to where I’m at now.”
While Mason may be crediting Quinn with where he’s at now, Quinn sees it as the opposite.
“[Mason] really learned how to manage his game and use his abilities,” Quinn said. “He learned how to play smart golf and hit the shot he knows he can hit, not the shot he thinks he could hit.”
“Being around [Mason] and seeing him grow as a player since leaving Temple has been an amazing process to watch,” Quinn added. “He really is family to me.”
Mason said he doesn’t know what the golf future will hold for him. For now he continues to live in Philadelphia, plans on getting a steady job and continuing his amateur golf career.
Anthony Bellino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Bellino_Anthony.