Golf’s next big thing has arrived, and his name is Matthew Wolff.
Only a sophomore at Oklahoma State — at least for the next few days — Wolff blitzed the individual field at the 2019 NCAA Championships, winning the individual title by five strokes at 10-under par, while also leading his team to the top seed in the match play portion of the competition, which kicks off on Tuesday morning.
For Wolff, the win was his sixth of the season and his final-round mark of 3-under par 69 allowed him to etch a season average of 68.69 into the NCAA record books, the lowest in the history of the sport.
“We all know he’s the best player in the country, but it’s tough to play well when you know what’s about to happen,” Wolff’s teammate and roommate Austin Eckroa said on Monday. “It’s impressive to see because there’s a lot of pressure on him, everyone knows he’s the best and he’s got this bar that he has to keep up there.
“He’s proven that he deserves all of this.”
The 7,550-yard Blessings Golf Club layout was too much for many of the competitors, but boasting 130 mile per hour swing speed and 190 mile per hour ball speed, Wolff’s unique swing was perfectly suited to take down the home course of the University of Arkansas.
It didn’t come without struggles, however. Wolff played the first nine of his first round in 4-over par 40, but bounced back to play the final 63 holes in 14-under par.
“I think that’s going to show a lot more character than going out and not missing a shot and playing four spectacular rounds,” Wolff said. “To be able to go out there and struggle a little bit and then bring it back … the last three days really gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of my career.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 28, 2019
While the rest of his career at Oklahoma State is going to last through Wednesday — his brother helped Wolff move out of his Stillwater, Oklahoma place last week — he still has an unfinished goal of repeating as national champions this week.
He’ll be taking up residence in Jupiter, Florida by the end of the week, but his mother said that he’ll always have a place in his heart set aside for Oklahoma State.
“OSU has been the best thing that’s ever happened to him,” Wolff’s mother, Sharri, said. “The coaches, the teammates, they’re unbelievable. He’s not leaving. He’s leaving but he’s not. This is his family for life.”
That kind of support will serve him well as he wades into the meritocracy that is professional golf. Regardless of how his game is, however, Wolff is taking the next step in his life with a strong sense of self.
“I have my family, my friends, my religion, and my beliefs are really important to me,” Wolff said. “It’s given me a lot better purpose, and I’ve been a lot happier, a lot more at peace and content with my life lately, and it’s just made golf and every single day a lot better.”