With big-name professionals set to hit the course in the 2013 British Open Championship at the Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland, rising sophomore Brandon Matthews continued his stellar summer by capturing the 109th Golf Association of Philadelphia Open Championship at Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli.
“It feels really good, especially because this one was against professionals,” Matthews said. “To be able to do this stuff day in and day out is just something very special to me and something that gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”
The victory gives Matthews his second Golf Association of Philadelphia title in three years, but it wasn’t an easy win. The course played tough and the weather conditions were brutal due to the excessive heat the Delaware Valley has seen over the past several days.
“It was ridiculous,” Matthews said when asked about the high temperatures. “We sat down right after we got finished with 27 holes, we sat down on the 28th hole, which was the first hole and it was 103 degrees on the tenth.”
After shooting a 1-under par 70 on Tuesday, Matthews teed off at hole number 10 at 1:39 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and put together another 1-under par round to keep himself amidst the top of the leaderboard.
Matthews, who was in a field of 46 amateurs and 32 professionals, started the second round on a torrid pace, birdieing three of his first nine holes to put himself 4-under par and sole possession of first place.
Matthews then ran into some trouble on the third hole and wound up bogeying holes 3, 4, and 6 to fall to 1-under par with three holes to play.
“The one was a true bogey,” Matthews said. “Just a couple of bad shots, which happens. The (fourth) hole actually had a really hard lip out. A 360-degree lip out from six feet, I missed my par putt. Then I missed a three-foot par put on (hole) six.
Matthews rebounded and tallied par on holes No. 7 and 8, then on the final hole of regulation, knowing he had to make birdie to force a four hole aggregate playoff against Billy Stewart. Matthews eyed down a 10-foot putt and sank it.
“Get it to the hole,” Matthews said when asked about the heroic putt to force a playoff. “I was leaving putts short all day and I really, in my mind just needed to get that to the hole and I was going to make it.”
Matthews and Stewart began the playoff on hole No. 6, and the Temple phenom took control from the start, one-putting each of the four-playoff holes, including three clutch up-and-down par saves.
“I was actually very relaxed out there for [the playoff]. I really, really just enjoyed playing in it and enjoyed having the opportunity,” Matthews said.
Matthews will be playing in a member-guest tournament over the weekend, before competing in the United States Golf Association Qualifier on July 22nd at Overbrook Golf Club. Matthews’ tee time is scheduled for 7:57 a.m.
Chase Senior can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Chase_Senior.