Brandon Matthews is known for his long runs, but it takes more than a few huge tee rolls to make it to the PGA Tour leaderboard.
Matthews started on the tenth par-3 hole in Jackson, Mississippi, and only got to 1 of 10 holes, despite having a par-5 14 hole.th.
That’s when Matthews, a long-range striker, 6’4″ and 210 pounds, started putting more laps on the scorecard.
Full Sanderson Farms Championship Results
Four birdies in his last eight holes saw Matthews one shot behind Davis Riley and Will Gordon’s lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship in the first round 5-under-67s.
Matthews scored his first round at The Country Club of Jackson.
“It was good,” Matthews said. “At the beginning of this week the swing coach, Dale Gray, came in and we did a great job and I really liked what we saw in the last couple of days. So, it was a really good transition from what I was doing to what I ended up doing today. I got to many of my places. I trained well all day and made it easy for myself.”
One of the things Matthews worked on with Gray was to make his swing a little shorter. He admitted that it can be difficult to go back when you are one of the most truckers in the world, but today was a good day with a driver.
“No matter how many times I tell myself just go easy, go easy, when you’re in competition it gets harder and harder,” Matthews said. “Discipline is very important for this. I did a really great job swinging the driver today. I mean, I think I hit the first six or seven fairways that I took him out on, so it was really good to see that and he feels really good in my hands now.”
In the first round on Thursday, Matthews threw tees for 340, 339, 335, 333, 330, 327 and 323 yards, resulting in over 1.7 tee hits.
It may come as a surprise that Driver wasn’t statistically the best club in Matthews’ arsenal on Thursday. He hit in every statistical category but was led by a stick that landed more than two hits on the field in the first round for Matthews.
Matthews’ hot start is especially noteworthy given how his first start as a PGA Tour player ended. The 28-year-old had to pull out of the Fortinet Championship after just eight holes due to a back injury five years ago.
“Unfortunately, I have back problems. It was the first tournament all year that I kind of won,” Matthews said Thursday in Mississippi. “It was one of those things that I knew it was a long year. I didn’t want to rush because some of the pain I had had returned to the time I had severe problems at 17. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t out for a month or two instead of just going to this event and taking a week and a half off.”
So how did Matthews “rest” in the short time between Fortinet Championship and Sanderson Farms?
He got married.
Matthews and his new wife Danielle got married last Saturday in his home state of Pennsylvania, just five days before he got married in Jackson.
It’s hard for a married man to beat 67 in the first round, and Matthews made sure to crack a joke with his wife after Thursday’s first round.
“I told her when I left that we should have gotten married sooner.”