After a modest 15th-place finish at the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic, the golf team’s fall season is officially over.
Junior Brandon Matthews, who was just recently named American Athletic Conference Golfer of the Month, lead the team with a 9th-place finish in the 108-player field at the 7,061-yard, par 72 Turtle Point Golf Course in Charleston, S.C. The Kiawah Classic was the first time Matthews finished outside the Top 9.
“Not good,” Matthews said of the team’s performance. “We did not play well really at all this week … no one played that great … we can’t go out there and shoot those numbers.”
Matthews was hampered by a slow start. He opened the tournament up with a 5-over-par 77, his highest score of the fall season and his highest score since the Middleburg Bank Intercollegiate on March 23 when he shot an 11-over-81. His rough start put him in 45th place after the first round.
“The wind was blowing a lot,” Matthews said. “I wasn’t hitting it great. I played the first seven holes seven over then played the rest two-under from there.”
But Matthews responded in the second and third round with two-under rounds: 1-under-71 and 3-under-68, respectively. For Matthews, it was his seventh and eighth time under par for the fall season. Matthews finished the tournament with a 1-over 217 for the tournament – seven strokes behind the tournament winners, Ryan Cornfield from the University of South Carolina Upstate and Scott Wolfest of Georgia Southern.
“It wasn’t the whole first round,” Matthews said. “It was the first seven holes. But that is golf.”
The next best finisher for the Owls was senior Pat Ross, who finished tied for 55th with a 12-over 228. For Ross, the finish could have been better. He started the tournament out with a 2-over 74, which placed him in 26th place. He followed that up with a 2-over 75, which dropped him to 30th place. He finished his free-fall with a 7-over 79 on the final day of the tournament.
“Realistically this doesn’t change anything for the spring semester,” Matthews said. “Golf is a very single game … we just need to practice really hard … and come out with wins.”
Next for the Owls was senior Matt Teesdale, who finished in a 73rd-place tie with a 16-over. After a 7-over, which to start the tournament, Teesdale was able to improve his finishes, including a 3-over to finish the tournament.
Freshman Mark Farley and Evan Thornton finished out the scoring for the Owls, tying for 79th and 97th, respectively.
“I think there are a couple kids that are burnt out right now,” Matthews said. “They aren’t having the most fun out there. Some guys just need a break.”
As a team, the Owls shot a combined 42 strokes over par and finished 42 strokes behind the tournament’s champions, Winthrop University.
This season, the Owls averaged a 7th-place finish and won only one tournament – the Temple Invitational on Oct. 11-12. The team had two Top 5 finishes and finished 9th or worse in the other four tournaments. Last fall, the team averaged a 5th-place finish, including four Top 5 finishes and finished all six tournaments inside the Top 8.
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Michael_Guise.