GLEN ELLYN – As a freshman at Glenbard South last fall, Russell Matos nearly broke into the top 10 at the IHSA Class 2A state meet.
Now, in preparation for his encore performance, Matos is in the midst of a full slate of summer action. He has played in 11 tournaments since April and is scheduled for three more before rejoining his Raiders teammates in mid-August.
“It’s been very busy,” Matos said. “I basically play year-round, though I go a little lighter in the offseason [winter]. I mainly play tournaments over the summer and then go to high school golf in the fall.”
Matos, who began with the sport at the age of 5, was a part of the Mid American Junior Golf Tour (MAJGT) in the spring before competing primarily in American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events this summer.
“I focus mostly on Midwest tournaments,” said Matos, who can usually be found at Village Links of Glen Ellyn on days he is not entered in an event. “All of the tournaments are pretty big and I like playing in all of them. I prefer playing over practicing because you get to see what the ball is doing and how it’s reacting that day.”
According to Matos, his game is coming along nicely. His high finish this summer was a sixth-place showing at the Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville. During that tournament, Matos carded a summer-best score of 71.
“I’m trying to focus on everything and keep it all sharp,” he said. “My short game has been really good for me this year.”
With the start of August right around the corner, Matos is eagerly anticipating the beginning of the high school campaign. He will enter an improved golfer.
“I’ve grown up a lot this past year,” Matos said. “I’ve gotten bigger and stronger and I’m hitting the ball a lot farther. That has helped my game, to have shorter ins.”
As a team, Glenbard South finished sixth at state a year ago and will return four of its top six golfers.
“It was a lot of fun playing on the varsity last year and being on a team like that,” Matos said. “Our team had a lot of depth last year and we were thinking we could go that far. We are hoping this year we can do even a little better.”