September 27, 2007

Jaye Feels Nerves First Day; Then Brings A-Game

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Freshman golfer Matt Jaye spent all of last week telling everyone he could about how excited he was to be starting last weekend. After a week of buildup, though, Jaye finished his first day of collegiate golf with a 77 (plus-7) at the St. Bonaventure Invitational.
“Instead of thinking, ‘Go out and win,’ I was thinking, ‘Go out and don’t gag,’” Jaye explained. “I was lucky enough to play well during qualifying and get a start for this first tournament. I didn’t want to screw it up and give coach a bad impression of me.”
Jaye’s teammates didn’t point to a lack of talent for his poor day, however. Senior Bret Perry chalked Jaye’s first-day struggles up to nerves.
“He’d been talking all week about how excited he was about his first collegiate tournament,” Perry said. “It probably took me even longer to get comfortable out there than it did for him.”
Perry went as far to even note Jaye’s composed nature.
“He’s very mature as a golfer for being a freshman,” said Perry.
Any doubts about Jaye’s abilities were quelled on day 2, when he combined his maturity with his talent to shoot a one-under 69 and finish 12th overall.
Jaye admitted to straying from his gameplan on the first day and playing more conservatively than he normally does. Jaye describes himself as a risk-taking golfer who excels at hitting for distance as well as utilizing his irons to his advantage.
“I’m pretty aggressive, sometimes stupid aggressive,” Jaye said. “But that’s just the way I play.”
“Stupid-aggressive” can equate to effective for Jaye, though, whose pre-collegiate golf resume attracted attention from recruiters at Army, Air Force, University of Delaware and Binghamton in addition to Cornell’s head coach Matt Baughan. During his four years of varsity high school golf at James I. O’Neill High School, Jaye came in 15th in the state as a sophomore and sixth as a junior. He was also the captain of the varsity soccer team.
Jaye won several tournaments including the Orange County Amateur, Masters North and his home course tournament, the West Point Club Championship.
But one of Jaye’s favorite tournament moments came during his senior year at the high school state championships at his current home course, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell.
Jaye shot a 73 on the first day of play that put him in the underdog role that he relishes. The next day, Jaye rebounded with a scintillating six-under 66 to pull into a tie for first place. It was at that tournament when Jaye met Baughan, who played into Jaye’s decision to attend Cornell.
“Baughan had my resume, I guess he kept track of how I was doing in the tournaments I played and he knew I was applying here,” Jaye said. “Coming down to the wire, I was really torn between schools. I really liked coach Baughan and that was part of my decision.”
The team likes Matt as well, and has high expectations for him.
“I’ve known Matt for all of a month, and I can already tell how talented he is,” Perry said. “He’s one of the most talented freshmen I’ve seen in my time on the team. He’s really going to be a great benefit to the team.”