No double bogeys. It’s of paramount importance for coach Brian Quinn’s golfers as the 2016-17 season gets underway.
With the departure of Brandon Matthews, whom Quinn has referred to as the “best player in Temple golf history,” the Owls are moving forward with an infusion of young players.
Last year’s roster featured a combined nine freshmen and sophomores out of 12 total golfers. This season, many of those players must take the next step in their Temple careers for the Owls to be successful.
One of the underclassmen who saw lots of playing time last year is sophomore Trey Wren. Wren came to Temple last fall from Suffolk, Virginia and enters this season as someone Quinn is relying heavily upon. Wren hinted at cleaning up his game around the pin to be more efficient this season.
“I could shoot 75 but have two double bogeys and instead shoot 73 if I turn those into bogeys, which isn’t hard to do,” Wren said.
Last season, some of these mistakes near the green were to be expected for a young Temple team, but also resulted in the Owls finishing toward the bottom of the team leaderboard in several of their events throughout the season. The team finished last in the Hartford Hawk Invitational to open the season and placed second-to-last at the Autotrader.com Golf Classic and the American Athletic Conference Championships.
Matthews was in and out of the lineup in the fall with a back injury and PGA Tour Qualifying School obligations, which forced Quinn into playing an even younger lineup during certain events.
Another golfer in the infancy of his collegiate career last season was sophomore Sam Soeth. Soeth said his teammates helped him transition easily to Division I golf and enters this season brimming with confidence.
“I jumped right into it in my first tournament last year and they made me feel comfortable,” Soeth said. “So you can just imagine where I’m at a year later.”
While Soeth only experienced playing with Matthews for a year, he learned quickly about cleaning things up in tight.
“The best part of his game was how he manages himself around the greens and short little shots,” Soeth said. “If you simplify your golf game, that’s three strokes you can eliminate quickly.”
Quinn knows his team isn’t talented enough right now to litter the scoresheet with birdies. So it comes down to improving their golf IQ collectively.
“If the kids play intelligent golf, I think we’re going to be able to start pretty solid,” Quinn said. “They’re not good enough yet where they know they’re going to make four, five or six birdies in a round of golf.”
The 10-year coach said he wants one piece of advice to stick more than anything else with his players: “If you’re doing everything I’m asking you to do to be successful in this game, you’re not doing enough. You need to be doing more.”
Greg Frank can be reached at email@example.com.