Throughout the fall golf season, sophomore Matt Teesdale spent his time practicing with the Owls but was forced to watch when it came time for matches due to NCAA transfer restrictions.
Teesdale began his career as a member of the golf team this past weekend at the Furman Intercollegiate held in Greenville, S.C. While it may not have been the result the Horsham, Pa., native was looking for – finishing in 58th place with a score of 11 over par – he said it was good to finally get a taste of competition after watching for the entire fall season.
“It was awesome and well worth the wait, I was definitely nervous on the first tee but it was a lot of fun,” Teesdale said. “I struggled a little bit in the first round but I settled down and played a little better after that.”
Teesdale, a graduate of Hatboro-Horsham High School was forced to sit out last semester despite being a student at Temple due to NCAA transfer rules. The sophomore who has three-and-a-half years of eligibility, coach Brian Quinn said, was one credit short of being able to compete in the fall portion of the schedule. “There was definitely some rust in my game,” Teesdale said. “It’s a completely different game playing tournament golf compared to just going out and playing with some friends.”
Throughout the fall season, the Owls constantly came up one good score short of making a run to the top of tournament leader boards as a team. Quinn has raved about Teesdale since signing him out of Montgomery Community College. Although Teesdale struggled this past weekend in his first time out, Quinn knows the talent he has in the 6-foot-3-inch sophomore.
“It’s huge, we now have five kids that can step up at any time. For the first event they did a really nice job,” Quinn said. “Matt has a lot of fire power, he had a double-bogey and followed that up with a birdie. Between him and Brandon [Matthews] it gives us an advantage that not a lot of other teams have.”
Quinn said Teesdale is a raw player who hits the ball a long way off the tee. He’s working to better manage his game within 100 yards.
“He’s kind of a gunslinger which is good in some ways, we want to polish his game a little bit, he’ll learn to manage accordingly,” Quinn said. “We’ll work on his wedges a little bit to get him more birdie opportunities. That’s when the game really gets fun.”
Teesdale agreed with his coach, stating that his wedge game needs work if he wants to compete at the level he expects from himself. The sophomore credits Quinn with his steadily improving game during his time at Temple thus far.
“Coach is teaching me how to manage my game a little bit better to help shoot lower scores,” Teesdale said. “I want to work on my wedges and become a little more consistent from 120 yards into the green.”
Freshman Brandon Matthews, who won two individual tournaments last semester, had high praise for Teesdale’s game. Matthews talked about Teesdale’s talent level being able to help the Owls round out their starting lineup. In the fall season it was rare for the team’s No. 5 starter’s score to count in any event.
“The biggest thing was we didn’t really have a fifth man in the fall, now anyone can step up and score,” Matthews said. “Now if one of us is having a bad day anybody in the lineup can step up and pick each other up, it’s a huge feeling.”
Matthews added that it was great to see Teesdale make his debut. The duo were recruited together and became very close during this past fall season.
“It was nice to see him out there, he just needed to shake out some of the rust in his game,” Matthews said. “He played really well Sunday, throughout the year he’ll be great for us.”
Like Teesdale, the Owls as a team had to shake off some rust in the first round of the Furman Intercollegiate. The team battled rain and wind in South Carolina en route to a tie for 15th out of 21 teams. In the first round, the Owls found themselves in last place after shooting 312, before battling back with team totals of 296 and 300 in the final two rounds.
“We struggled the first day, we were a little rusty,” Quinn said. “Outside of that, we played solid. The weather was brutal. It was cold and rainy and really tough to play in.”
Teesdale and the Owls will continue their quest toward the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships on April 1, when they compete in the Wildcat Invitational held in Malvern, Pa.
Anthony Bellino can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Bellino_Anthony.