Temple’s golf team has been performing over par for the past few years.
Whether it be former standout Steve Burak transferring, or the dismissal of Connor McNicholas from the team last season, the golf team has had its share of misfortune. Now, with the incoming 2012 recruiting class, coach Brian Quinn said the Owls will have something to look forward to.
“This is the best recruiting class in the history of Temple golf,” Quinn said.
The class is headlined by 2010 Pennsylvania state champion Brandon Matthews from Pittston Area High School. Along with his state title, Matthews also won the junior state championship and the prestigious Patterson Cup, which is held in Philadelphia. Matthews also had interest from San Diego State, University of Maryland, Louisiana State University, Mercer and Charleston Southern University. He has had a full schedule since ending his high school season in October 2011, including college visits and tournaments.
“I’ve been playing a lot of tournaments and visiting coach Quinn,” Matthews said. “I’m just taking the steps to become a factor on the team, which is my main goal.”
Matthews has been one to set lofty goals for himself after winning the state title in his junior year.
“I want to help the team succeed in any way that I [can],” Matthews said. “If I’m playing well maybe I could even get some individual medalists in the tournaments.”
Quinn is counting on Matthews to not only contribute this year but have a successful four years as a collegiate golfer to get the Owls back to where they want to be.
“The tournaments he’s won really shows you what a quality player he is,” Quinn said. “I’m really excited to watch [Matthews] grow as a player over the course of his career.”
Matt Teesdale is another recruit that has Quinn excited. He is a transfer from Montgomery County Community College and will have three years of eligibility.
With a depleted roster last season, the Owls were consistently one score short, which cost them precious strokes for most of their tournaments. Quinn said he will have to rely on both Matthews and Teesdale if he wants the team to succeed this year.
“Both of these players hit the ball really long and strike it very well,” Quinn said. “I need to get them to manage their games to achieve lower scores in tournament play.”
“I expect them to come in and challenge the others to be the best they can be,” Quinn added. “It’s great that we will have team competition and the freshmen will benefit from having a great leader in [senior] Devin Bibeau.”
Bibeau is also looking to this recruiting class to make his senior year a memorable one.
“I’m very happy with the team heading into my last year,” Bibeau said. “Hopefully with this class and the people we are bringing back, we can make a run to be one of the top teams in the [Atlantic 10 Conference].”
Bibeau also acknowledged that this class is important to rebuild after a sub-par last two years.
“We’re looking to get our feet back on the ground after the last two seasons,” Bibeau said. “We just want to reach the goals we set for ourselves and maybe win some tournaments.”
The recruits will get their first chance at a college tournament when they open up their season on Sept. 16 at the McLaughlin in Bethpage, N.Y.
Anthony Bellino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @bellino_anthony.