Focused, driven and even-keeled — these are the traits every golfer strives to have — which is why senior golfer Sam Matthew has been working to refine each of these skills.
“I’m pretty humble on and off the course,” Matthew said. “I don’t get too up or too down often. I’m not too emotional and that works well both on and off the course.”
Matthew’s teammates and coaches said his humbleness is what makes him such a talented golfer.
Junior Jordan Rykal, who’s played with Matthew the last three years, said Matthew is the same person when he is zoned in on golfing and when he has downtime.
“He’s a very positive guy,” Rykal said. “(He’s) very even-keeled on and off the course. His personality is the same, and that’s why he’s a great teammate and a great golfer.”
Sophomore golfer Grant Campbell echoed Rykal’s description, and said Matthew’s calm demeanor rubs off on the rest of the team.
“He’s always working hard at everything,” Campbell said. “His presence, drive and leadership has helped our entire team become better.”
The team’s success was evident at the Atchafalaya Open in Louisiana held earlier this spring, where Matthew and the Coyotes collected a team victory. In the tournament, Matthew added icing to the cake when he also won his first individual title as a collegiate golfer.
Golf coach Nick Hovden said that individual medalist honor for Matthew is something that has been coming for a long time.
“Sam’s been so close over the last three years,” Hovden said. “He’s been in position to win too many times to count. So to see him finally pull through and take the medalist title was truly amazing.”
Hovden said Matthew’s work ethic contributed to him earning the award.
“He’s a natural leader on this team,” Hovden said. “He leads by example with his work ethic and focus at practice. He’s competitive and you know that no matter the task, he’ll put his head down and work his tail off to achieve the result.”
Matthew said he has grown up around golf his entire life, and that the sport takes up almost all of his free time outside of school. Even after he graduates this May with a degree in finance, Matthew said he doesn’t plan on easing back on the amount of time he dedicates to golf.
“This summer I’ll move back to Minnesota and go work at a golf course,” he said. “But I plan on turning pro and either moving down South or competing on the Dakota Tour up here.”
(Photo: Senior Sam Matthew drives the ball at practice at The Bluffs Golf Course April 7. Chris Timmerman / The Volante)