Matt playing in his first TJGT (Texas Junior Golf Tour) held at his home course of Republic Golf Club.
The TJGT offers AJGA Performance Based Entry (PBE) at every event as well as Golfweek, Jr. Golf Scoreboard rankings and top-level amateur exemption at selected tournaments. In 1989, tournaments consisted of only local Austin/San Antonio players but has since grown into some of the strongest fields in junior golf. Players from coast to coast, as well as many international countries such as Mexico, Scotland, Venezuela, Ecuador, Canada, China and Korea are now participating. (Tour Information) Ages for the events are from 11-18, conversely the AJGA is 12-18.
Seeing how Matt has recently turned 11 and the event was at home, we decided to let him have a go at the older boys. As it turns out they only had 1 set of tees for all the boys sitting at about 6,850 yards. Easily the longest yardage Matt has played and definitely the longest tournament yardage he has attempted. We knew going in it would be difficult and would require a mindset that Matt sometimes has issues with maintaining for an extended period. On the other hand, we knew that his swing could withstand the challenge. We set a goal of shooting 80 and trying not to have any doubles or 3 putts.
As it turned out during day one Matt was in a group with a fellow STPGA Junior Tour player Tyler Neidel and a 16 year old. This allowed Matt to be a bit more comfortable with his surroundings, although the older boy was a good foot taller than both Tyler and Matt. Matt ending up shooting an 82 with 2 doubles and 2 birdies, Tyler beat him out by 1 stroke on day 1.
Matt showed a level of concentration we have not seen from him in a long time, if ever. He was focused, determined and quiet. He struck the ball well. Matt has gained about 20-25 yards with his driver over the past 3 months or so, if not for that he would not of even been able to compete at this distance. I have never seen him hit so many 3 woods in a round ever.