Bump in the road matters little to St. Edward’s Michael Mattas

SHARE Bump in the road matters little to St. Edward’s Michael Mattas

St. Edward junior Michael Mattas was as hot as could be going into Monday’s Class 2A Grayslake Central Sectional at Stonewall Orchard.

After winning the Metro Suburban Conference meet, Mattas fired a 68 at the Class 2A Vernon Hills Regional at White Deer Run, the best round of his career and tied for the lowest round in the state at regionals.

But Monday, and eventually Tuesday, Mattas struggled to a 79. But he advanced to this weekend’s Class 2A state meet at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal. It’s Mattas’ first trip to state.

“That was definitely the main thing that I wanted to do this year,” Mattas said. “It was pretty relieving.”

Golf is a fickle game, and Mattas had one of those days Monday. He had a double bogey. He had to call a penalty on himself after his ball moved. Rain forced delays Monday and made him finish his round on Tuesday. All of that added up to the 79, though coach Greg Winters said the score could have been much better.

“He played good enough to shoot a 74 or 75,” Winters said. “Those things happen. The most impressive thing is that he’s the only one that saw the ball move, and he called a penalty on himself. Hopefully that pays off for him.”

Mattas was playing his best golf going into Monday, so he hopes that the things that conspired to lead him to a 79 were just an aberration.

“I just struggled on Monday, but I got out,” Mattas said. “I’m definitely excited about it. If I play well, I might have a chance. I’d like to win it, but I just want to play well.”

Winters sees Mattas play more than anybody, and he knows that he is not just happy to be there. He wants to make a run this weekend.

“If he’s on, there isn’t anybody in the state that can beat him,” Winters said. “He gets a little nervous, but not that much. He played a lot of golf with older golfers the last couple of years (over the summer), so he’s used to playing against college age kids. That’s helped him mature. It gives him a different attitude.”

Winters knows that his extensive tournament schedule in the offseason will help him deal with his first trip to state this weekend.

“They’re all good players,” Mattas said. “I know how I compare to them, and I know what I need to shoot.”

The 2010 St. Edward team finished third in Class 1A, the year before Mattas came aboard, and they had some advice for him on his first trip.

“They just said it was a lot of fun, just enjoy it,” Mattas said.

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