Coach Brian Quinn calls Brandon Matthews an eraser.
His ability to consistently post a low score is something the golf team has come to expect of the junior tri-captain. His consistency helps alleviate a teammate’s mistake.
“Since he’s been on this team, he has played the same. … Everyone knows Brandon is going to do his deal and pull his weight,” Quinn said.
Since Matthews stepped on Main Campus three years ago, success has followed him. In his first tournament as an Owl, he won the Hartford Invitational with an eagle on the first playoff hole. To this day, Matthews said he still feels the effects of the result.
“Probably one of the best, if not the best shot of my life,” Matthews said. “It got my college career jump-started and gave me a lot of confidence that I know I can come through when it matters.”
As a freshman, Matthews won three tournaments and finished in the Top 10 in eight of 12 tournaments. As a sophomore, Matthews won one tournament but had eight Top 5 finishes and lowered his stroke average from 72.5 as a freshman to 71.5. These results are not surprising to Quinn, who believes Matthews is a special player.
“I think he is one of the greatest talents in the country,” Quinn said. “He is without a doubt a ‘phenom.’ … You are awestruck when you watch him do what he does.”
This year, Matthews has continued his success. This season, Matthews has posted four straight Top 7 finishes, including a first-place finish at the Temple Invitational. Dating back to last season, Matthews has finished in the Top 7 in seven out of his last eight tournaments.
“For me it is an absolute privilege to be his coach. … He is a once in a lifetime player,” Quinn said. “What he has and what he can do with the golf ball … there are only a few people can do it.”
Quinn said he believes Matthews’ busy summer, in which he competed in the U.S. Amateur Championship and the British Amateur Championships, is one reason Matthews has continued his strong play. The constant travel and playing time allowed Matthews to learn more about himself and the game of golf. Quinn said it was the “greatest teacher for him.”
“This summer was a great summer for [Matthews],” Quinn said. “He got to travel. He never traveled in his life … but he learned a lot. … It really showed him the value of taking care of your body, time management and efficient practice.”
Matthews is focused on improving and preparing himself for a potential professional career. He knows it’s great to win, but he sees the whole picture.
“It’s not that I’m expecting myself to win more tournaments. It’s more of making less mistakes and growing as a golfer,” Matthews said.
Matthews said he attributes his development as a golfer to all the work Quinn has done with him. During the last three years, no one has had a bigger influence on Matthews than Quinn.
“Over the past three years … I’ve learn how to play the game,” Matthews said. “Coach Quinn has helped me immensely over my last couple years and taught me how to play golf.”
The extensive time the two have spent together has led to a special bond between them. Quinn called Matthews a “part of my family.”
As the team comes close to wrapping up their fall schedule, Quinn has seen enough of Matthews to know he is already in a special category.
“In my opinion, he is the greatest golf talent that has ever played at Temple right now,” Quinn said.
Michael Guise can be reached at email@example.com and on twitter @MikeG2511