Some have called it the greatest win of his career, including himself.
After finishing 10-under-par 206 at Furman Intercollegiate, a three-day event that started on March 27, Matthews acknowledged the magnitude of his victory among a field of 18 schools.
What made the performance ignite Matthews with confidence was the way he climbed into contention after an even-par 72 in the first round, in which he shot three strokes over par through the first four holes. The junior found himself in a tie for 20th place among 114 golfers after the first day.
“I would say it’s the biggest [win] as far as competition goes in my collegiate career,” Matthews said. “I was really proud with the way I played.”
Matthews flew up the leaderboard on the tournament’s second day, shooting a 6-under 66, and sat in third place heading into the final round. On the final day, he shot the lowest score in the round with a 4-under 68, and topped the leaderboard by the end of it all.
Matthews edged out Georgia State’s J.J. Grey and Western Carolina’s J.T. Poston in the final round. For coach Brian Quinn, limiting the win as an all-timer for just Matthews is an understatement.
“I think that was probably the biggest win in the history of Temple University golf, in my opinion,” Quinn said.
Quinn is a Temple alumnus who played four years of golf as an Owl from 1987-90, and is now in his eighth season as Temple coach.
Following his win at the Furman Intercollegiate, Matthews reeled off his second straight tournament win in the Met Intercollegiate and led the team to its second win of the 2014-15 season.
What stands out to Quinn when it comes to his junior standout is the level of composure and maturity he exhibited at Furman.
“He’s played the game long enough to realize it’s a marathon and not a sprint,” Quinn said. “He can gain ground faster than just about anyone.”
The consistency of Matthews’ game has made him a leader for the Owls. He noted that as he has matured, he’s become a more efficient golfer. A week before the Furman Intercollegiate, Matthews tied for second at the Middleburg Bank Intercollegiate, the first event of Temple’s spring schedule. In the fall, Matthews placed in the Top 10 in all six of the Owls’ tournaments.
His reliability displayed through the early portion of the spring season has Matthews embracing the role of teacher, with many players on the team looking up to him.
“I love teaching anyone,” Matthews said, “especially the younger kids on our team. I love seeing them grow. I think the whole team for the most part feels comfortable coming up to me and asking anything.”
Senior Pat Ross said he has noticed the maturity in Matthews’ game, and admires the junior’s ability to stay composed on the golf course and avoid bad situations.
“When he hits a bad shot, it’s just so impressive watching him put his golf club in his bag and go to the next shot,” Ross said. “He won’t hit two bad shots in a row.”
Matthews’ mental fortitude is an example of the hard work and confidence that his coach sees in his junior golfer, and Quinn was quick to brush aside any role he had in Matthews’ development.
“These kids work incredibly hard and Brandon is the definition of that,” he said. “That is in no way a reflection of anything that I’ve done.”
Greg Frank can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @G_Frank6.