Auburn Sophomore, Carroll Alum Makes Prestigious Watch List for NCAA Golf
Jul 02, 2015 10:54AM
● By Kevin
Matt Gilchrest after putt in Collegiate final round, Oct. 2014. Photo courtesy of Auburn Athletics.
Most recently, the sophomore was one of 24 golfers nationwide to be named to the Ben Hogan Award Watch List. The award recognizes the outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer of the year. While Gilchrest didn't win the award, it's still a humbling honor. He was also named to the First Team All-SEC, and came one stroke shy of a school record this year.
We had a chance to catch up with Gilchrest to chat about his season, the future, and life in general in a Q&A.
Southlake Style: You had an absolutely incredible season – what do you attribute it to?
Matt Gilchrest: The entire program at Auburn sets you up for success at everything, school as well as golf. The coaches there and my coach back home Cameron McCormick set me up on the best possible path to improve my golf game.
SS: Amongst the list of all you've done this year, what's your favorite accomplishment and why?
Gilchrest: I was on the Hogan Award Watch List, which is a list of players in contention for player of the year. That was a cool honor as well as First Team SEC. I’d put that in a tie with the other one.
SS: Back in February, you scored a career-low 64, which is the second lowest round in school history. Take us through that one.
Gilchrest: To start, I got to do it on my birthday in Hawaii so even if I shot 100 that day, it would have been a great day. I didn’t start off great. Nothing really lucky or crazy, just 9 or 10 holes in a row without hitting a bad shot. The putts went in. I wouldn’t call it a crazy low round, it was just a bunch of great holes for me. I didn’t know it was the second lowest until after the day was over.
SS: How great is it to be on the Ben Hogan Watch List?
Gilchrest: I think it’s a cool honor. It’s always cool to have other people recognize what you work hard for as important or of high quality. I think it’s an achievement for myself and for all the people I listed earlier to help me get there.
SS: Your success was born at Carroll – you were a Team MVP there. Talk about the way it shaped you.
Gilchrest: I was very lucky to have Coach Glenn for four years and Steve Alexander, the assistant coach, the first three years. I learned a lot from them. When you think of high school golf, you don’t think of in-depth, high-caliber tournaments, but there’s a lot more than people give credit for. We always played the best courses and best events. You have to learn how to travel and keep up with your school work and deal with other people in your same hotel room. That sets you up for college and having both of those guys as coaches set me up for a chance to play in college.
SS: What are your future goals for the Auburn golf program?
Gilchrest: I think we’ve made NCAA’s four years in a row now which is really good. We want to make that top 8 and get into magic play. Even though we’re good enough to contend there, we’ve missed it by a few places each year. We're only losing one guy to graduation next year. We should be able to improve a lot. We're bringing in a class of four really good guys. Everyone says they could win a national championship, but I think we can actually do it. We had the lowest adjusted scoring average in the entire NCAA this year. Although the national championship isn’t decided on that, it shows. On the right day, we can beat anybody. So I hope you’ll see Auburn on top next year.
SS: You're majoring in business/finance. What are your future aspirations? Is the pro game in your sights?
Gilchrest: My parents and I decided a general plan that if professional golf was realistic after seeing how I do the second half of college, we’d try that. But if it doesn’t happen, I’d go back to college to get my MBA back in Texas. I'm hoping golf works out, but you never know when life takes an unexpected turn. That’s the plan, but the backup plan is to go to more school after.
SS: Last thoughts, people you'd like to thank?
Gilchrest: Yes, I'd like to thank my parents and Timarron Country Club.
Matt Gilchrest - The Full Story - Courtesy of Auburn Athletics