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Texas Tech Student-Athlete Spotlight: Matt Smith
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By Jeremiah Washington
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

No one would expect for senior Texas Tech golf standout Matt Smith, who hails all the way from Canberra, Australia, to be in tune with his Texas country music dancing abilities.

"I two-step pretty well," Smith said. "I am from Australia, so a lot of people don't expect that from me. They are always pretty much surprised."

Australia, which is half way across the world from Texas Tech and best known for their hopping friend the kangaroo, is where Smith picked up his first golf club. It was by watching and observing the play of his father that he began to hone his golfing abilities.

"I started playing with my dad," said Smith. "That is where my whole history of golf kind of began, by just playing with my dad."

Matt was a member of the New South Wales National Golf team while in Australia, where he grabbed three amateur tournament titles and was awarded the 2006 Vardon Trophy, which is handed out to the top amateur in the New South Wales.

Smith arrived at Texas Tech in the spring of 2007 and, after he redshirted the 2008-09 season, he soon became a big impact for the golf team. By the spring of 2010, Smith competed in every spring tournament and the following fall led the Red Raiders with three top-10 finishes.

This spring has also been a successful season for Smith, with one of his favorite moments for this season coming from the Calloway Match Play Championship back last month. Smith overcame a nine-shot deficit to pick up Tech's sole win of the day.

"We finished fourth and I thought that was a good moment for the team," Smith said. "I look forward to finishing stronger as the season progresses."

Like most sports, golf requires a special type of focus and the ability to free your mind and step into a zone, which compliments the attributes and strengths of the golfer.

"I listen to music normally before I golf," Smith said. "I generally do the same warm up and listen to music to get in my zone."

According to Smith, his best attribute is his ability to start each hole with a solid drive from the tee box.

"Driving is definitely my best attribute," he said. "I drive the ball pretty good and I can hit the ball quite a long way."

Growing up, Smith idolized the "Great White Shark" himself, Greg Norman, who also hails from Australia. Norman's aggressive style of play, which has earned him over 90 professional wins including 20 on the PGA tour, has been a style that Smith hopes to emulate his play after.

"Greg Norman has always been my go-to guy," Smith said. "He was definitely the one that I loved to watch."
 
Like Norman, Smith hopes to have a few wins on the PGA tour in the future as well.

"A major goal of mine would be to win on the PGA tour," said Smith. "To win a Masters would be amazing."

With such a bright future ahead of him, there is no question that Smith will be two-stepping his way to the PGA Tour.

 

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