Mata, 19, turns professional-A A +A
Saturday, March 16, 2013
AFTER opening with a disastrous 80, Cebuano Agustin Madriaga Mata recovered in the next three rounds, hitting 72 in the third to finish seventh in the 2013 ITSI-Philippine Golf Tour Qualifying School last week.
And now, the 19-year-old former accountancy student who quit his studies is now a full-fledged golf pro, which has always been his dream.
“I don’t see myself working in an office setting, I see myself becoming a pro golfer and follow the footsteps of Tiger Woods,” said Mata, who fired 74-72-77 after an opening round of 80 in the Q-School to finish with 303. Another Cebuano, Mark Dy of the Cebu Country Club, also made the cut after.
Mata, who picked up golf when he was nine years old, grew up in Papa New Guinea, where his father Arsenio, originally from Bantayan Island, worked as an accountant.
Last year his parents Arsenio and Amelia moved back to Cebu and he started training at the Alta Vista Golf and Country Club.
His younger brother Aris also plays for the Alta Vista.
Mata also joined the 2013 Philippine Amateur Golf Championship last January at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club but failed to make the cut. However, the experience merely boosted his resolve and urged him to work on his game.
And then he signed up for the PGT Qualifying School at the Splendido Taal Golf Club, which not only gathered the top amateur golfers in the Philippines but also pros from abroad who want to join the ICTSI Golf Tour, a growing tour that will have seven four-day events offering P2.5 million in prizes.
This year’s edition kicks off with the ICTSI Sherwood Hills Classic on March 20-23 and offers P450,000 for the top golfer.
“When I learned that I was among the top ten, it felt like redemption because during the Philippine Amateur Golf open, I got cut.
But now, I redeemed myself by qualifying as a pro. Finally it’s a dream come true,” said Mata
Mata added that it was his father who plays an important role in his choice of career.
“It’s not that he influenced me, but he helped me build my passion for the game. At first, I saw golf as a leisure sport, but he showed me that golf is also a career. He alone taught me the mechanics of a golf swing and how the game is played. As my skills developed, so did my love for the sport, and until now my father is always there for guidance as I step up into the professional league,” Mata said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2013.