2002: PGA Tour - Make it a double for Mattiace
Len Mattiace had a mistake-free day. Glen Hnatiuk, however, had plenty of errors.
Mattiace shot a bogey-free, 7-under-par 64 for his second PGA Tour victory of the season – and career – June 30 at the FedEx St. Jude’s Classic, overcoming a seven-stroke deficit to Hnatiuk at the beginning of the final round.
It was the largest come-from-behind victory since Davis Love III rallied from seven down in 2001 to win at Pebble Beach. After his Nissan Open triumph earlier this year, the 34-year-old Mattiace – who entered the year winless – is suddenly the Tour’s only 2002 multiple winner not named Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. He became the 13th winner to come from behind on the final day in 26 events this year.
“I’m just so happy with the way I played over the weekend,” said Mattiace, who shot 65 Saturday.
Mattiace admittedly didn’t feel much pressure in the final round, teeing off four groups ahead of the leaders. He birdied five holes in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine, including Nos. 15-17. “I didn’t look at the leaderboard. I didn’t feel like I needed to,” said Mattiace, who finished at 18-under 266, a stroke ahead of rookie Tim Petrovic. “I knew I just needed to keep making birdies, so why look? I looked on the 18th green and saw I had a two-shot lead at that time and just tried to two-putt.”
Mattiace’s victory came at the expense of Hnatiuk, who led by four shots at the beginning of the day after firing consecutive 65s in the first three rounds to lead a Tour event for the first time. His best finish is a tie for third in the 2000 B.C. Open.
Hnatiuk, 37, was trying to become the 10th first-time winner on tour this year, but he struggled right out of the gate Sunday with four front-nine bogeys. Playing with Petrovic in the final group, he finished with a 6-over 77 and fell into a tie for 14th after six bogeys, a double bogey and two birdies.
“I’m not surprised somebody shot a low number and came from the pack,” Hnatiuk said. “But the plain and simple truth is that I let the tournament happen that way.”
Petrovic never folded. He had a chance to force a playoff with a 35-footer for birdie on No. 18, but he missed just left for a 68. Petrovic, 35, seventh in earnings on the 2001 Buy.com Tour, made birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, leaving an eagle putt just short on the latter. “This is a step in the right direction for me,” said Petrovic, whose previous best finish was a tie for 12th at Pebble Beach. Before Memphis, he had missed the cut in 10 of 17 events.
Notah Begay III had a share of the lead for a hole, but bogeyed No. 15 to finish with a 69 that put him alone in third at 16 under. Mattiace took the lead for good at 17 under with a birdie on the par-5 16th, then birdied No. 17 after caddie Jim Weber talked him out of a 6-iron and into a 7-iron for his approach on the 464-yard par 4. Mattiace hit it to 15 feet, then rolled in a putt that broke about 3 feet into the hole.
After making his par at 18, he waited with his family and hit a few balls on the practice range before being told he won. “It was pretty nerve-racking,” he said. “I’m not used to this.”
With two victories in 41⁄2 months, it’s something Mattiace better get accustomed to.
– From staff and wire reports