Take a look at the fresh-scrubbed face, the boy-next-door smile, the casual (but not too casual fashion statement of polo shirt over T-shirt. It’s Brandon Matthews in 2011, right after being named high school golfer of the year. Do you see promise?
By the time this photo was taken, Matthews, a Pittston Area High School grad, had already won a PIAA state golf championship in 2010. He also medaled twice in the states.
Matthews honed his skill on the greens of Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter, and in 2012 teamed with Rick Laneski to win that clubs biggest event, the John A. Allan Tournament.
He went to Temple University on a Division I scholarship and immediately stroked the team’s best average, winning three consecutive games. Matthews led the Owls to their first tournament title in two seasons at Villanova’s Wildcat Invitational, and was named Atlantic 10 Conference rookie of the week for his efforts in 2013.
And last week the Pittston Patriot with the gifted swing landed in the quarterfinals of 113th U.S. Amateur. That put him among the top eight of more than 7,000 who initially gunned for qualification.
True, Matthews struggled through is quarterfinal bout and was ultimately eliminated. “I felt it on the range,” he said. “I just didn’t have it today.”
But that hardly diminishes his accomplishment. He had reached the top one-tenth of one percent of those who competed at the start of it all.
And there’s no reason to assume his trajectory will go anywhere but up. He’s been that good — that good consistently — for years.
But regardless of his future, his present deserves special note. As popular as it is, golf is not a sport on the radar of many local residents, and his accomplishment at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., put him in a rarefied atmosphere of this region’s elite athletes.
Brandon Matthews is not a “local boy done good.”
He is a local man doing great.