Temple's Matthews wins in U.S. Amateur match play

Posted: August 16, 2013

Brandon Matthews said matches like the one he experienced Wednesday in the opening round of the U.S. Amateur Championship are more common for him than one might think.

The Temple sophomore rode a roller coaster for all 18 holes of his match against UCLA junior Matt Pinizzotto on a windy day at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Only three of their holes were halved. Matthews won the first three holes of the match, yet stood 2-down after 14.

But Matthews rallied to win three of the final four holes, including a decisive par on the 18th, to score a 1-up victory over Pinizzotto and advance to Thursday's second round.

"I always know how to make things interesting coming down to the end, whether I'm up 5 or up 1," Matthews said over the phone. "It was satisfying to come back and win the match. But I've got to learn that, when I'm 3-up, I have to start closing the deal a little bit earlier."

Matthews, the 22d seed after the 36-hole qualifier, went 1 under par in winning each of the first three holes but found himself all square after Pinizzotto, of Salinas, Calif., captured Nos. 6, 7, and 8. Matthews won the next two holes but lost the next four and was staring at a 2-hole deficit.

"He did play well, the holes that he won," Matthews said. "But I definitely did give him 11 and 12. I lost 11 to a bogey, and on 12 I had 250 yards to the front of the green on a par-5 and made bogey there and lost to a par. I hit a couple of bad shots and that shouldn't have happened."

But the Dupont, Pa., native made his charge. He sank a 30-foot putt for a birdie 3 at the 492-yard 15th. After 16 was halved, he hit a good second shot out of a bad lie in the rough and two-putted from 15 feet for the win, squaring the match going into the par-4 18th.

Matthews split the fairway with a 3-wood, hitting the ball almost 300 yards, and struck his approach to 20 feet. Pinizzotto hit his second shot into the left rough short of the green, skulled his third shot over, and saw his chip stay in the rough. Matthews putted to 18 inches and was conceded the match.

Next up for Matthews will be No. 54 seed Gavin Green of Malaysia, a junior at the University of New Mexico.

"Every match I win is great," he said. "It's just the fact I'm advancing and want to keep advancing, that's all I can ask for."

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

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