Temple's Matthews leads U.S. Amateur qualifiers

Temple's Brandon Matthews was the medalist in the U.S. Amateur qualifying Monday. The 18-year-old, red-hot Temple sophomore won the Philadelphia Open a week ago. Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer
Temple's Brandon Matthews was the medalist in the U.S. Amateur qualifying Monday. The 18-year-old, red-hot Temple sophomore won the Philadelphia Open a week ago. Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer (Steven M. Falk)
Posted: July 24, 2013

The top of the U.S. Amateur qualifying scoreboard Monday featured 18-year-old medalist Brandon Matthews, the red-hot Temple sophomore less than a week removed from winning the Philadelphia Open.

The last of the five qualifying spots almost went to 61-year-old Buddy Marucci, the 1995 U.S. Amateur runner-up to Tiger Woods and former Walker Cup captain, who was seeking a berth in his 24th championship.

Marucci, however, fell short, losing to North Carolina junior Brandon Dalinka on the first playoff hole. Dalinka will join Matthews and three other qualifiers - recent Episcopal Academy graduate Sean Fahey, Drexel sophomore Chris Crawford, and 31-year-old pharmacist Stephen Seiden - next month at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

The field, which started at 131 players, competed over 36 holes - 18 each at Overbrook Golf Club and Radnor Valley Country Club in Radnor Township.

Matthews, who was an alternate in last month's U.S. Open at Merion, carded 11 birdies and finished at 4-under-par 136. He started with a 67 at Overbrook, the best round of the day there.

"I've been playing a lot of golf and I thought I might be a little tired," Matthews said. "But I played great in the morning. I missed a few putts here and there, but all I wanted to do was make it. Not only did I want to get there, but I want to make it to match play. What happens from there, I'm going to make my own destiny."

Marucci shot 69 at Overbrook and 72 at Radnor Valley for 141 and appeared to be in until Dalinka, a Council Rock North graduate, birdied his 16th and 17th holes - the seventh and eighth at Radnor Valley - to tie him. In the playoff, Marucci put his tee ball into a greenside bunker and lost to Dalinka's par.

"Brookline would be special because I played there 32 years ago," said Marucci, who will be an alternate. "So it would be fun. Frankly, if you told me this morning that I'd be in a playoff for one spot, I probably would have taken it. I would have liked to hit a better shot" in the playoff.

Fahey fired a 5-under 65, a competitive course record at Radnor Valley, in the afternoon. The round featured five consecutive birdies, from the 18th through the fourth holes, on putts ranging from 15 to 50 feet.

"For some reason, I just saw all the breaks that were out there and started the putts right on line," said Fahey, who will enter Dartmouth in the fall.


Contact Joe Juliano at jjuliano@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @JoeJulesInq.

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