Success with Honor: Matt Porter
March 10, 2010
By Alyssa Patti, Athletic Communications Student Assistant
What do Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods all have in common? Each one of these professional golfers has won the U.S. Amateur Championship at least twice. In the summer of 2009, four Penn State golfers qualified to play in one of the most prestigious golf tournaments for amateur golfers, the U.S. Amateur. One such golfer is freshman Matt Porter.
Although Porter struggled in his U.S. Amateur debut, he is not a newcomer to tournament play. In fact, he entered his first tournament when he was 11, only two years after his father first introduced him to golf. In 2008, Porter came in second place at the PGA Junior at Ohio University with a combined score of 214. One year later at the PGA Junior at Penn State University, that same score left Porter the overall winner of the tournament.
Porter completed his qualification round for the U.S. Amateur in third place. However, he did not have the same success at the U.S. Amateur itself.
"Qualifying for a US Amateur is very difficult. You must first, be an excellent amateur player and second, you need to have an excellent day," says Penn State men's head coach, Greg Nye. "The qualifying all happens in one day. It is 36 holes where fitness and mental strength factor in over the 12 straight hours of completion."
"U.S. Amateur was definitely an experience and I feel like I went there with the right mindset," Porter says. "I was just trying to learn as much as I could, which was not going to help me compete, but it helps me now and will continue to help me in the future."
Porter remains positive and is looking forward to taking what he learned not only at the Amateur, but also at the Renaissance Invitational, which was his first tournament as a Penn State golfer.
"My greatest achievement in golf was after the U.S. Amateur and being able to pick myself up and be a part of the team and even help the team at the end of the fall season. It shows how far I came from before Penn State and then how much better my last tournament in the fall was. It shows how my hard work, has really paid off."
Penn State's spring opener was set for February 12-13, but Penn State had to withdraw because of severe weather conditions that canceled their travel options. The sixth annual Pinehurst Intercollegiate in Pinehurst, N.C., March 12-14, will be their second attempt at a season opener. Porter will be ready to help the team in any capacity, whether that means he is in the starting squad or is ready to go in case someone is injured.
"I'm just going to be ready," Porter says, "And if that means training for a successful summer, that's what training in the spring means for me, but I'll be ready."
Porter will try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur again this summer in Rochester, N.Y.
Coach Nye says, "We hope Matt will bring a certain level of competitiveness that will enable him to be successful at the collegiate level."