Sophomore Brandon Matthews carded a four-under 212 to help Temple to a fifth place finish at the Hartford Hawk Invitational at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in Kent, Conn.
“Brandon played real solid,” coach Brian Quinn said. “The first two rounds he probably let a couple of pretty good scores get away from him. There was a couple of rounds where he just wasn’t putting as well as he could.”
Matthews shot a five-under par 67 during his final round and tied for second overall, but continued to struggle with his putting game, something that has been a nagging issue through three tournaments this fall.
“Just OK,” Matthews said when asked about his performance. “Nothing great. I played really well this week. I just didn’t putt well. My putting was very subpar. It wasn’t up to my expectations at all and it kind of just gets on your nerves.”
“It’s almost every tournament where my putting is costing me the golf tournament,” Matthews added. “I got to change that. I’ve had a lot more success with my putting this year than I have had in previous years, but it still can get a lot better, and it needs to if I want to get to the stages that I want to get to in my career.”
Matthews shot 74, 71 and 67 in his three rounds, but his final set of 18 holes was shaping up to be a great round before he hit a couple of speed bumps on the back nine.
“Believe it or not, even finishing second is the absolutely the highest he could have shot,” Quinn said. “Even the last day he was 5-under after ten holes, then he made a double bogey, then a three-putt and he finished real strong down the stretch. He had a chance to really shoot low.”
Junior Matt Teesdale finished second on the team and tied for 14th overall, while senior Matt Crescenzo finished tied for 27th with a 227.
The fifth-place finish is the Owls’ highest of the season, but Matthews said it wasn’t good enough and adjustments need to be made.
“I shot 5-under for the last day and we finished sixteen over as a team,” Matthews said. “That just cannot happen. That just can flat out not happen, especially on a par-72 golf course that was playing pretty easy and has four par fives, all of which but one are pretty reachable in two [shots]. It just needs to get better. Bottom line, flat out, we need to get better as a golf team. We need to work a little bit more together. Some of the guys on our golf team need to realize how good they can be and put their trust in coach and his program.”
When playing well, Temple has an effective 1-2-3 punch atop the lineup with Matthews, Teesdale and Crescenzo. Through three tournaments, Quinn is disappointed in the performance of Teesdale and Crescenzo.
“I would feel pretty comfortable saying we have three really, really strong golfers,” Quinn said. “Our top three on paper are super strong. Matt [Teesdale] and Matt [Crescenzo] just haven’t stepped up. They have not played up to their abilities, quite honestly.”
Teesdale showed his talent while concluding his second round, finishing birdie, double eagle, and birdie.
“He probably had the greatest finish in golf I’ve ever heard of or saw,” Quinn said. “That was pretty amazing. Outside of that he struggled.”
“I think the whole deal of playing golf is learning how to trust your technique and form and trusting your technique and form come from having a good work ethic,” Quinn added. “Matt Crescenzo has a great work ethic and sometimes he just doesn’t trust himself. He just doesn’t let it go. If he can get over that hurdle, I expect great things from him the rest of the year. Teesdale, we have to get him working a little bit harder. He has more talent than just about anyone on the planet and we just have to get him working a little harder.”
Matthews also sees the promise Teesdale possesses.
“I think Teesdale has more potential in his one finger than anyone on our golf team has in their whole body,” Matthews said. [Quinn] sees that and he knows how good he can be and so do I.”
Rounding out the Owls lineup were juniors Mike Amole, who shot a 236, and Alec Kissell, who tallied a 243.
Temple will have some time to work on its struggles with several days of practice. The Owls next tournament is The Wolfpack Intercollegiate on October 7th in Raleigh, N.C.
Last week, former Owl Devin Bibeau was named assistant coach of the golf team.
“[Bibeau] is an amazing young man,” Quinn said. “Super kid. Has a great way about him. He’s just someone that has been with me for five years at Temple and he gave me a call and has had a show of interest, expressed interest in possibly being with the team at my academy and I couldn’t think of a better young man to help the Temple University program than him. He played in every college tournament in four years. I’ve never one time in five years did I ever have to say anything to him. He’s a great leader by example and he’ll do a great mentoring these kids.”