Thursday, July 10, 2014

Matthews reaches Amateur’s elite eight

Pittston Area grad will face an Australian in today’s quarterfinals

August 15. 2013 8:45PM

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BROOKLINE, Mass. — While The Country Club at Brookline is a legendary course, Brandon Matthews is making it his own.

Matthews won two matches Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship at the fabled course, defeating Gavin Green 4-and-3 in his first match of the day, then eliminating Charlie Danielson 3-and-2 in the Round of 16.

The victories made it a day like no other for Matthews.

“Sure, I came here trying to win this golf tournament,” Matthews said. “Not that I came in expecting to win, but I’m going out there and trying my best to play my game — staying in the holes, making pars, keeping the ball in front of me and making him make an error.”

The U.S. Amateur is the most prestigious golf tournament for non-professional players in North America. It annually draws an international field, and this year had over 7,000 players attempt to qualify for it.

Danielson, a University of Illinois standout, proved to be a nice challenge for Matthews. Both have excellent short games but are also powerful from the tee box.

They were all square on three occasions until Matthews went up for good on the eighth hole by sinking a 35-foot putt for birdie. Matthews added the ninth hole after Danielson’s par putt lipped out.

“I’ve been putting very well this week,” Matthews said. “My putting has been right on point. I can’t ask for much more from my putter.”

The pair halved the next two holes, capped with a nifty 8-foot downhill putt by Matthews to save the 11th hole. It was followed with a fist pump.

Matthews found trouble on No. 12, getting caught in a bunker to drop the hole. He cashed in Danielson’s misfortune to get into the trees along 13 to retake a two-hole lead.

On 14, Matthews found the trees, getting into a pine but was able to punch out of the branches and two-putt from 35 feet out. He ended up halving the hole when an 8-footer by Danielson wouldn’t fall.

“That was just a great recovery on 14,” Matthews said. “I didn’t think I could get out of there. I was really surprised I got that out.

“Charlie legitimately got robbed maybe six times on putts, too. The last two holes (a couple of near-falls) were complete examples of it.”

Matthews’ birdie on 16 capped his day, downing Danielson and setting up a quarterfinal match against Australian Oliver Goss at noon today.

In the Pittston Area grad’s first match Thursday, he downed Malaysian Green in 15 holes.

Matthews took the lead on No. 10 with a soft, 20-foot downhill putt, reading a mild break perfectly to take the lead for good in the match.

On No. 12, a 623-yard par 5, Matthews clinched the match — even if the math said otherwise. He hit his tee shot more than 360 yards, then put his second shot perfectly on the green, 25 feet from the pin.

“I just hit a great shot,” Matthews said of his amazing drive. “Then I hit a solid 4-iron in there to the green.”

From there, Matthews won Nos. 13 and 14, reaching the greens in 2 each time on his way to a par and a birdie. His 17-footer on No. 15 was good enough to halve the hole and end Green’s run at the Amateur.


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