Temple golf phenom Brandon Matthews sets sights on Jordan Spieth

Ben Solomon

When you go for a visit to the city-entrenched campus of Temple University, there’s not much green space to be found. Between Beury Beach by The Bell Tower, Geasy Field behind the school’s rec center and Columbia Field down Cecil B. Moore Avenue, there’s about two city blocks of grass for students to hangout on or play sports on in any given day.

Yet, despite the campus’ shortcomings in vegetation, one Temple junior, Brandon Matthews, has worked to become a master of the greens in his three-year career on the school’s golf team. He was selected for the second-straight year to compete as an individual at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships on Monday to cap off a sensational season for the Owls.

“It felt great [to be selected],” Matthews said. “It feels good to know that all the time and work you put in during the year meant something. There’s so many hours of preparation that go into every single day of my life. With school work, a personal life and golf, it’s tough to juggle all those things. … I can’t say that I’d rather be anywhere else than Temple University with the people that are surrounding me.”

Last season, Matthews became the first-ever Temple golfer to be selected to compete as an individual in the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, as well as the first to compete in the tournament since the Temple team competed in 1997. The Dupont native compiled a school-record 71.0 stroke per round average during the 2014-15 season while winning four tournament titles. He also tied the school-record for career tournament titles, matching Geoffrey Sisk’s mark of eight set back in 1986.

“I’m so thrilled with the opportunities Temple has given me,” Matthews said. “To get to play in the NCAA Championships this year and last year is awesome. … Hopefully I helped put Temple golf on the map. It’s such a great University with such a great coach and beyond the team it’s helped me a lot with my goal of pursuing golf as a living.”

In Matthews’ most recent tournament win, he shot a one-over 71 on the final day of competition at the Princeton Invitational held at Merion Golf Club’s East course. Merion, of course, was home to the 2013 U.S. Open, the same tournament which he was selected as an alternate in as just a freshman at Temple. His score at Merion would’ve beaten out golfers the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods who competed in the tournament and Matthews feels that tournament was a jumping off point for his golfing career.

“That started [my career] when I was selected as an alternate at the U.S. Open,” Matthews said. “It gave me confidence and made me realize what level I was at. I knew I could play with those guys.”

What’s on the horizon in Matthews’ career is not a secret, he wants to join the PGA Tour. But, Matthews knows how important it is at this stage to learn as much as he can before making that leap into the pros. He wants to come back for his senior year at Temple, under the tutelage of coach Brian Quinn in order to become the best that he can be. He wants to make an immediate impact as a pro such as 21-year-old, Jordan Spieth, who dominated the Masters last month with a record-tying 270 (-18) through four rounds.

“Jordan Spieth set a standard and that’s a standard I have to surpass,” Matthews said. “It gives me a goal that I can reach. It’s all about setting goals and reaching them, that’s what life is. … I think I’m ready right now, but I also think another year of training under my belt isn’t going to hurt me. I think another year with my coach is invaluable to my success. If I went pro now I think I’d be competitive and do well, but I think I’ll be even more competitive next year with that much more knowledge that I can gain at Temple. My strength and conditioning over the past eight months has done wonders to my game and that’s something I want to continue doing at Temple.”

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