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Brandon Matthews honeymooning, contending at Sanderson Farms

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 Brandon Matthews honeymooning, contending at Sanderson Farms

After marrying college sweetheart Danielle last weekend, opens in 5-under 67

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    Brandon Matthews sinks birdie putt at Sanderson Farms

    JACKSON, Miss. – Brandon Matthews does not necessarily enjoy dancing.

    Last Saturday was an occasion for such activities, though. The TOUR rookie married his college sweetheart Danielle in a ceremony outside Philadelphia – the two met in college at Temple; Danielle, a reporter for the school’s OwlSports Update show, covered Matthews’ first collegiate victory.

    The off-week brought an opportune time for nuptials, with the first dance set to Dave Matthews Band’s “You and Me” ballad.

    “He hates dancing, and we were going to take a dance lesson, but both of our schedules are crazy, so we weren’t able to,” Danielle laughed. “So we just went with it, and the crowd seemed to like it.”

    “For me, I think it was a 10 out of 10,” Brandon added.

    “10 out of 10,” Danielle confirmed.

    The wedding vibes carried into this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship, where the newlyweds arrived on a honeymoon of sorts. Matthews opened in 5-under 67 at the Country Club of Jackson for a share of the morning-wave lead in just his second TOUR start as a member.

    There’s only one chance for a debut competitive round as a newlywed, and Matthews delivered.

    “Just a big smile on my face, watching him do what he loves,” Danielle said on a crisp Thursday afternoon, “on our honeymoon.”

    The journey has made the destination all the sweeter. Matthews earned his first TOUR card via the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season, highlighted by a victory at the Astara Golf Championship presented by Mastercard in Bogota in February.

    Matthews, long regarded as one of the game’s longest hitters, faced adversity early in his career – largely brought on by injury – before finding his groove.

    The Pennsylvania native developed his power from a young age, where he would tee up a driver with his sole focus on carrying a creek, then move back a few yards upon succeeding. This developed an instinctive power move that has carried to his professional career; Matthews ranked No. 4 on the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour in driving distance. He ranked No. 2 in the category as a Korn Ferry Tour rookie in 2018 behind only Cameron Champ, then finished the 2019 season atop the list.

    That trying 2019 season provoked a vicious cycle of injuries and bad habits, though. He fell into a rut and eventually lost his card.

    Ever the optimist, with a consistent appreciation for the opportunity to play professional golf for a living, Matthews fought his way back. He gained notoriety for his grace after missing a putt to extend a playoff on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica in fall 2019. A fan with Down syndrome yelled during his birdie try, but rather than cast blame, Matthews tracked down the fan post-round and spent some time with him.

    “Some things in life are just bigger than golf,” Matthews said at the time.

    He returned to PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and didn’t miss a beat, finishing atop the 2020-21 Order of Merit to earn full 2022 Korn Ferry Tour status. He concluded his time on that circuit in dramatic fashion. At the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, Matthews drove the green on the 432-yard, par-4 18th at Victoria National GC – 368 yards on a direct line – needing eagle to make the cut. He just missed, but the golf world had been put on notice. Matthews’ prodigious game was soon to hit the biggest stage.

    “It’s a superpower,” fellow Korn Ferry Tour graduate Philip Knowles said of Matthews’ length off the tee. “You can’t teach that kind of stuff.”

    Matthews might not say the same about his dancing ability – aside from on his wedding night, that is – but in his interactions with Danielle after the opening round at the Sanderson Farms Championship, the honeymoon vibe was alive and well.

    His first month as a TOUR pro brings similar sentiments.

    “I love doing this for a living,” Matthews said Thursday at the Country Club of Jackson. “I’m fortunate enough to do it for a living. Every day I get to play golf in competition for a living is pretty special to me, and I’m very fortunate to do it.

    “I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world to be able to do this for a living, because I love it so much.”

    And he sports a 67.00 stroke average as a married man.

    “I told her when I walked off,” Matthews laughed, “we should have gotten married sooner.”

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

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