Justin Matrone made a strong first impression as a sophomore on the Bishop Hendricken golf team, an impression he cemented when he surged to an eighth-place finish at the state tournament.
It was the beginning of a rock-solid career.
Matrone became one of Hendricken’s steadiest golfers after the big finish to his sophomore year, always playing consistent and always coming up big on the biggest stage. This season, he was the unquestioned leader for the Hawks, a golfer whose play, work ethic and attitude served as a perfect example for his teammates.
“He just did a magnificent job for us,” said Hendricken head coach Rick Angeli. “He provided such good leadership. He was the perfect face for our program.”
His state tournament performance as a sophomore set the stage. His 72 on day one was the best round of his life.
“It was shocking to me,” he said at the time.
After ranking fourth with a day of golf in the books, he hit some more struggles on day two but still grabbed a top-10 finish. Last year, Matrone again shined when the lights were brightest. He had been the team’s No. 3 player all season, but he was their top performer at states again, this time grabbing a sixth-place finish.
Angeli, who was in his first season at the helm last year, knew what Matrone had accomplished at states the year before and wasn’t surprised to see him replicate it.
“He’s not fazed by being in a big tournament,” Angeli said.
Matrone finished his senior season with a scoring average of 41.125, and he carded one of the state’s lowest rounds with a 33 during the regular season.
“You wouldn’t see a lot of big numbers with him,” Angeli said. “He was very consistent. On the rare occasions when he had a big hole, it wouldn’t derail him.”
In his final state tournament, Matrone actually had his worst state performance, finishing 11th. But three top-12 finishes at states added up to quite a career.
Matrone will attend Wake Forest this coming year.
“We’ve got big shoes to fill,” Angeli said. “We’re going to miss him.”