Alcorn Invitational: Braves play for MatthewsPublished 12:01am Wednesday, October 10, 2012
NATCHEZ — The Alcorn State University Third Annual Golf Invitational at Duncan Park in some ways served as a tribute to the late Tom Matthews, who was the coach of the Braves’ men’s and women’s golf teams.
The men’s team went into Tuesday’s final round with a four-shot lead over Prairie View A&M University. Unfortunately, Alcorn State wasn’t able to hold on to that lead as Prairie View had a team score of 324 for a two-day score of 659 to finish in first place.
“We played well. Really, we’re playing for Tom and we’re playing for him the rest of the season,” Alcorn State men’s team member Jonathan Weir said.
Prairie View was led by Rodolfo Muniz and Jason Hudson. Muniz shot a final-round 75 to finish third individually with a two-day score of 152. Hudson had a final-round 78 to finish sixth individually at 159.
While every member of Prairie View’s men’s team had better scores on Tuesday than they did on Monday, the exact opposite happened to every member of Alcorn’s men’s golf team. That led to a team score of 350 and a two-day score of 671 to finish in second place.
Anthony Smith finished fifth individually with at two-day total of 158. But he shot an 82 in the final round — six shots worse then he had on Monday. Jesus Rivera came in seventh at 160, but he, too, had a final-round 82 after firing a 78 on Monday.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff almost caught Alcorn State for second-place team honors, but had to settle for third place at 675. It was led by Nqobani Ndabambi, who finished first individually with a two-day score of 146.
Prairie View’s and Alcorn State’s women’s golf teams also finished 1-2 in the tournament. Prairie View finished with a two-day total of 375 while Alcorn State was second at 398. Mississippi Valley State came in third at 424. Prairie View’s Shanequa Valentine finished first individually with a two-day score of 147 after rounds of 73 and 74.
Alcorn State women’s team member and captain Kenya Little, who came in second individually with a two-day total of 170 with back-to-back rounds of 85, said it was “a great experience” playing for Matthews.
“He made me feel comfortable. I was nervous when I came in as a freshman. He was a great coach,” Little said.
And starting next year, this tournament could very well have a new name. Alcorn State compliance director Moses Dupré, who said he does not consider himself the interim coach of Alcorn’s golf teams, said, “We’re giving it some consideration through formal process naming it the Brown-Matthews Memorial Golf Tournament, which is going to be held annually at this time (of the year).”
The tournament will be named in honor of not only Matthews, who was also the golf pro at Duncan Park in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but also Ocie Brown, who was Alcorn’s golf coach before Matthews.
Alcorn State athletic director Dwayne White said that Brown was also the football coach there for several years, including when he arrived there in the mid-1980s. “Both were integral parts of our program. We want to honor them for all they’ve done for our student-athletes and our university,” White said. “This tournament has been going on for three years. It was started by coach Matthews.”