Temple sophomore Brandon Matthews hasn’t eased off the gas since arriving on campus last year.
In the fall of 2012, Matthews claimed first place in the three-round Hartford Hawks Invitational, before winning the Big 5 Invitational. Matthews then managed to shoot the lowest round of any freshman in the university’s history, by firing a 64 at The McLaughlin.
Matthews rounded out his fall season with three more top-15 finishes, all-coming at the age of 18.
This past spring, Matthews finished in the top 10 on the leaderboard in 11 of 12 events, claiming the A-10 Rookie of the Week eight times—a conference record, while finishing first at the Princeton Invitational and second place at the A-10 Men’s Golf Championship.
Matthews also won the 2013 A-10 Rookie of the Year, was an All-Conference selection and was named to the PING All-Northeast Region team.
Coming into the summer, Matthews’ game remained well under par. The incoming sophomore was named an alternate for the U.S. Open, after nailing a 15-yard flop shot for birdie (a highlight that found its way on the Golf Channel) at the sectional qualifier in Purchase, N.Y. to finish fifth.
Matthews then edged out professional golfer Billy Stewart after connecting on a 10-foot birdie putt to force a playoff, further capturing the 109th Golf Association of Philadelphia Open Championship by two stokes.
A week later, Matthews’ clinched another victory in the U.S. Amateur Qualifying round at both Radnor Country Club and Overbook Golf Club.
Matthews then traveled across the state to Saucon Valley Country Club for the Pennsylvania Golf Association 100th Amateur Championship, where he tied for second with a two-over par score of 215. If it wasn’t for two double bogeys on holes five and twelve, another win could have been chalked up next to his name.
This torrid stretch of play over the last year has especially caught the eye of Temple golf coach Brian Quinn, who says Matthews is just “scratching the surface.”
“I’m very proud of [Matthews],” Quinn said. “He’s done a great job. He’s a wonderful player. Brandon has really worked hard on his golf swing, so his mechanics, technique and form have gotten really, really good. The most impressive thing about him is how consistently he’s been playing.”
“Since really the middle of our first semester until now, he’s honestly, probably had a chance to win every single tournament except one, so he’s played fantastic,” Quinn added. “He’s got to work real hard on his short game, his pitching, his bunker play, his chipping. He’s still got to fine-tune some stuff there, but he’s done an unbelievable job. Great kid, awesome teammate, really just a wonderful kid with a great personality.”
Most recently, Matthews won the 111th Patterson Cup, shooting seven-under 65 during the final round. Matthews edged out another Owl in the tournament, junior Matt Teesdale, by five strokes.
“[Matthews] has a lot of confidence obviously right now,” Quinn said. “He realizes how good he is first of all, and how hard he needs to work to maintain where he’s at and also obviously to keep climbing up the ladder. He’s just honestly scratching the surface.”
With three years of NCAA Eligibility remaining, Matthews has a lot of golf still ahead of him.
“He’s just got to trust himself that its OK to make a bogey here and there because he hits the ball so far and can hit a driver, 3 iron on a par 5 and make an eight footer for eagle pretty easily,” Quinn said. “Once he really trusts himself with that and matures a little more, the sky is the limit for him.”
Next up for Matthews is the United States Amateur Championship, which starts tomorrow at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.