When Matt Gilchrest finishes the first round at TPC Sawgrass – THE PLAYERS Stadium Course Friday, he hopes to find himself in familiar territory. Matt will be entering The Junior PLAYERS presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf with three consecutive victories.
“Any season where you win three times is probably a good one,” Matt said. “I wish I would’ve played better from January to the start of the summer, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”
Before claiming his first victory in July at the Genesis Shootout presented by the Valero Texas Open, Matt’s season was far from perfect. His highest finish came at the Thunderbird International Junior, where he entered the field as an alternate and took 11th, and then he missed the cut in his next two events.
As a result, his ranking ballooned to No. 121 in the Polo Golf Rankings. The problem was apparent, and for Matt, the answer was better preparation.
“I really focused on having a more consistent pre-shot routine,” Gilchrest said. “I spent more time and effort into course strategy and developing a gameplan ahead of going onto the course, which takes the decision-making out of it once I’m at the tee.”
The change proved to be for the best, as he recorded a 69.00 scoring average during his winning streak, which also included wins at the Harvey Penick Junior and the Goodman Networks Junior at Timarron. Through this 162-hole span, Matt made five eagles, 40 birdies, 99 pars, 14 bogeys, 3 double-bogeys and one triple-bogey.
Matt said his recent win at the Goodman Networks Junior at Timarron was the most special since Timarron Country Club is where he picked up his first golf club.
It will also be remembered in the AJGA Record Book, as his final-round of 10-under-par 62 is tied for the lowest score in relation to par in AJGA history.
Looking to extend his streak and ingrain his name to another record in the book, Matt plans to develop this week’s strategy and stick to it.
“I played here last year and I really loved it,” said Matt, who finished T22 in his first AJGA Invitational. “It’s a really special environment and it’s the one everyone wants to get in, so I’m looking forward to a good week.”
By Abby Liebenthal, AJGA Communications