Brandon Matthews, a Pittston Area graduate and current Temple University freshman, thought he had qualified for the 113th U.S. Open after making a miraculous par on the 36th hole of sectional qualifying Monday.
Matthews buried a wedge from just off the green to finish his day with a 2-under-par 139. Unfortunately for the Dupont native, Gavin Hall, a 3-time New York junior amateur champion passed Matthews after birdies on his final four holes.
Matthew settled for first alternate after rounds of 72 at Old Oaks Country Club and 67 at Century. He will be able to hit practice balls and chip and putt next week at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore while, hopefully, getting the call to replace a starter in the U.S. Open.
Alternates are put into two groups, according to the USGA. If an exempt player withdraws from the Open, his replacement comes from a sectional considered the toughest by the USGA. If a qualifier leaves the field, his successor is an alternate from the same sectional.
So far, 150 of the 156 spots have been filled. There are up to six places reserved for players from the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking on June 10. If fewer than six players earn exemptions from the next World Golf Ranking update, alternates from sectional qualifying will fill the remaining spots in the field.
Matthews won the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.
After firing his 72 in the opening round of the day at Old Oaks Country Club, Matthews struck fire with three birdies and an eagle on holes six through 10 of his final round of the day.
His day finished with a shot everyone is still talking about - a 58-degree wedge that found the hole. And at that point, Matthews thought he was in.