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Even 'Puttless', Matteson Helping Tech Golf Rank Among Nation's Best

ATLANTA (Nov. 2) – With two top-20 and one top-30 finish this year, redshirt-freshman Troy Matteson (Austin, Texas) has helped Tech to the No. 3 spot in the Golfweek computer rankings and the No. 41 individual ranking. Not bad for a guy who hasn’t dazzled with his putting so far this season.

“Coming into the year, we didn’t know what we were going to get from Troy,” said fifth-year head coach Bruce Heppler of Matteson. “What he has done is gone out and qualified for all four tournaments this year and logged a good start for a first-year guy. He hasn’t made a bunch of putts this year, and I don’t think he has hit one from over 13 feet yet in competition. He has been very solid in controlling the distance of his ball and has played every round pin high – he has taken a page from Matt Kuchar’s game in that regard. Troy is just a very consistent scorer and is also a solid putter, and when he does start hitting longer putts, he will go from contending in tournaments to challenging for medalist honors.”

Matteson and Tech will end the fall campaign at the Golf World Invitational in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Thursday-Saturday at the 6,651-yard, par 72 Arthur Hills Course. Matteson will be looking to cap a solid first half of the year after tieing for 26th at the Golfweek Preview Invitational, registering a tie for 17th at the Carpet Capital Collegiate and tieing for 15th at the Iron Duke Golf Classic. He is third on a the squad with a 73.12 stroke average, only behind returning all-Americas Bryce Molder (Conway, Ark.) and senior Matt Kuchar (Lake Mary, Fla.), who are ranked No. 2 and 12, respectively, in the Golfweek Individual ranking.

“I have just been able to go out and play and not worry about fixing things,” said Matteson, when asked about his key to success this year. “I didn’t have any expectations entering my first year and getting my first event under my belt was a big help. Having Bryce Molder as a barometer is great for me, because when you get close to him score-wise, you know you are going to be right up there in a tournament. We have such solid depth on this team that you know your teammates are going to be there to back you up. It has allowed me the confidence just to go out and play.”

Matteson, a civil engineering student, surprising in eight rounds has shot just three for par or better, but has been mentally resilient in his approach to stay among the leaders each outing. Toward that end, his worst score of the year is only a 76.

“I adopted a philosophy from Mike Pierson last season,” said Matteson, of the graduated senior who finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last year. “He had calculated his wedge shots perfectly for getting to the green and I have done the same. I know what distances I am driving and have keep the ball in fairways to give myself a chance.”

Matteson will be joined in teammates Molder (70.50 stroke avg.), Kuchar (71.50 stroke avg.), sophomore Matt Weibring (Plano, Texas, 74.17 stroke avg.) and Carlton Forrester (Gainesville, Ga., 74.80 stroke avg.).

Tech will start the 2000 portion of its schedule at the Waikoloa Intercollegiate in Waikoloa, Hawaii, Feb. 17-19.

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