Big Break Mexico Competitor
Current Residence: Tampa, Fla.
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
Home Course: Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club
College: University of West Florida
Profession: Professional Golfer; Caddy at Streamsong Resort
- Eight Victories on the West Florida Golf Tour since 2010
- First on the West Florida Golf Tour Order of Merit in 2011
- Three-time NCAA Division II All American (2006, 2007, 2008)
- Member of the 2008 NCAA Division II National Championship team
- 2007 Florida State Amateur Champion
- Caddied for Lee Janzen on the PGA TOUR
When it comes to golf, Matthew always has considered himself the underdog. Golf always has been a focal part of his life, but he has had to “fight a little harder than the next guy.”
Matthew was introduced to golf by his father at age 9 after his family relocated from Indiana to Florida. It was around that time that he got the bug.
“I didn’t take a lot of other sports seriously growing up, just golf,” explained Matthew. “Golf just really interested me. I just wanted to be out on the golf course every day, and the game came naturally to me. I guess you could call me a “golf dork.”
Matthew played in his first junior event at 13, and finished in fourth place. He never looked back. He knew that one day he would be a professional golfer.
“It was a dream of mine, just like everyone else here competing on Big Break,” said Matthew. “I watched golf tournaments and read all of the golf magazines. I just immersed myself in the game.”
He was recruited to several smaller schools but wanted to stay in Florida. He settled on the University of West Florida, a Division II school, on a limited scholarship. Looking back, it was the best decision he made.
“Those four years at West Florida is what made me who I am today,” said Matthew. “I learned so much as a player. I sit back now and think of all of the lessons I learned from my coach – Steve Fell – not only about golf, but also just growing up as a person. He pushed me to be the best I could be.”
His passion to be the best he could be in college – and to fight the “underdog” motto – is reflective on his resume: Three-time Division II All American and multiple collegiate wins, including the Florida State Amateur in 2007. It was during his senior year that he had the confidence and passion to go after his dream and pursue a career in golf.
Following graduation, Matthew turned professional. He plays all over the country on the mini-tour circuit, and has achieved moderate success, including multiple victories on the West Florida Golf Tour. He also has competed in three Web.com Tour events. Like most mini-tour professionals, finances are always an obstacle, so he turned to caddying to offset costs. In college, he met two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen through the College Golf Fellowship, which is a series of Christian golf retreats. In 2012, Matthew caddied for Lee at several PGA TOUR events. The insight, tips and knowledge he picked up from one of the most respected players in the game was invaluable.
“Lee has been a father-figure for me and my golf career,” said Matthew. “He saw the passion I have for the game, and we developed a great partnership. I can’t thank him enough for what he has taught me about how to succeed in golf, and in life.”
Fast forward to 2013, Matthew is now on his own to try to follow in Janzen’s footsteps. He is competing full-time on the mini-tour circuit, with a renewed confidence, outlook and desire to take his game to new heights.