3M Open golf: Meet the longest hitter in Blaine this week. His name is Brandon Matthews
He’s spent most of this season on the Korn Ferry Tour and sometimes doesn’t even bring his driver to tournaments.
BLAINE, Minnesota — Brandon Matthews is so long off the tee that he actually has resorted to leaving his driver at home during some tournaments while playing on the Korn Ferry Tour.
That won’t be an issue for him at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.
Thanks to a sponsor’s exemption, Matthews will compete in the 3M Open this week, marking only the third time this season that he’s played on the PGA Tour. The tournament begins on Thursday.
“The driver’s definitely going to be in the bag,” said Matthews, a 27-year-old from Dupont, Pa., who missed the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, then qualified for the U.S. Open in June. “It’s going to be nice to hit it a few times this week.”
With an average driving distance of 320 yards on the Korn Ferry Tour, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Matthews would rival pretty much any player on the PGA Tour. That includes Cam Champ, the defending champion at the 3M Open, whose average driving distance also hovers around 320 yards.
“It definitely gives me confidence to see past champions here and who’s played well,” said Matthews, acknowledging that the inaugural champion Matthew Wolff also had a lot of length off the tee. “I’m looking forward to competing on a golf course where longer hitters are at a slight advantage.”
Though he secured his PGA Tour card for the 2022-23 season earlier this summer, Matthews isn’t taking anything for granted at this point in his career. Not after an uphill climb that featured pit stops on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica and the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I’ve worked my way up through the ranks under the PGA Tour umbrella, and it obviously goes to show how many great players there are coming up,” Matthews said. “The sport is getting more and more talented every year, and I’m excited to be able to finally make the dreams I’ve had as a kid kind of come to life here.”
While the 3M Open will be the next step for Matthews in his rise, he talked at length about getting to compete in the U.S. Open last month. He made the 36-hole cut and was actually in contention for a brief moment before things started to get away from him.
“The mental side left a little bit, and doing that in a U.S. Open doesn’t really help a lot coming down the stretch,” Matthews said. “It was a great experience, and I definitely learned a lot from it. I’m looking forward to playing in many more majors coming up here.”
What are his expectations for himself this week? Let’s just say Matthews has loftier goals than simply making the cut.
“If I wasn’t here to win a golf tournament, I’d need to figure out a different profession,” he said. “I feel like my game is at a point where I can win any given week if a couple of things go my way, and getting to that point where I can contend every week is my goal. If I play well this week, I like my chances contending and finishing towards the top there.”
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