Matteson nips Fowler, Lovemark at Frys.com
Monday, February 14, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Troy Matteson blew a chance to win the Frys.com Open in regulation by bogeying the 17th and 18th holes.
Playing the same holes in reverse order in a three-way playoff, Matteson recovered from his late collapse. He birdied the second extra hole to beat Jamie Lovemark and Rickie Fowler on Sunday at Grayhawk Golf Club for his second PGA Tour victory.
“I just can’t believe that it’s ended up like this,” said Matteson, who won $900,000. “I know I stumbled going down the stretch, but I’m still beside myself.”
After all three players parred the first playoff hole, Matteson hit his approach within 3 feet on the 464-yard, par-4 17th hole. With shadows stretching onto the green, he rolled in the putt to win.
That capped an incredible three-day stretch for the 29-year-old Matteson. After shooting a 2-over 72 on Thursday, he thought he might be headed for the airport before the weekend.
But Matteson had back-to-back 61s on Friday and Saturday – a PGA Tour record for lowest score in consecutive rounds – and he took a three-stroke lead into the final round.
“That’s as good as I can play,” Matteson said. “I really don’t have to worry about playing better than that, because that’s it.”
Matteson’s first Tour victory came as a rookie in 2006, when he won the Frys.com Open in Las Vegas, now called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
On the first extra hole, Lovemark got a gift when his approach splashed into a man-made lagoon, then bounced onto a slope near the green. Lovemark chipped to 3 feet and made the putt to stay alive.
“It was crazy,” said Lovemark, who called the fluke shot a “skipper.”
Lovemark and Fowler, who are seeking PGA Tour cards, each earned $440,000.
Fowler has made $553,700 this season, which gives him special temporary membership because the amount exceeds the 150th spot on the money list last year. That allows him to skip the first stage of Q-School and most likely makes him exempt into the final stage. He is the equivalent of 136th on this year’s money list, and still has time to reach the top 125 and earn his card without Q-School.
“I knew I was capable of coming out and competing,” said Fowler, who tied for seventh in Las Vegas last week. “But to finish tied for seventh and then tied for first and then losing a playoff, pretty quick start.”
The 20-year-old Fowler turned pro after the Walker Cup last month.
Lovemark has earned $453,872 and said he would go to Q-School next week in North Carolina. He needed to finish second alone to earn enough to be a temporary member. If he were to skip the first stage and take his chances at the Viking Classic next week, he would not be eligible for Q-School the rest of the way.
Fowler and Lovemark had finished their rounds when Matteson faltered on a sun-splashed afternoon in the desert.
After bogeying the 17th, Matteson (68) knocked his approach shot into a bunker on the 18th. He chipped to about 10 feet, then missed the putt to force a playoff with Fowler and Lovemark.
Fowler and Lovemark, who shots 64s, watched the drama unfold from a practice green across the lagoon from the 18th green.
“I’m more nervous right now than I was when playing, which is kind of weird,” Lovemark told a TV interviewer.
Fowler led briefly midway through the round, but his bogey on 18 cost him a chance to win in regulation.
Lovemark had seven birdies in regulation, five on the back nine.
“I felt like I was pretty far out of it,” he said.
Bill Lunde (66) and Tim Clark (67) tied for fourth at 16 under, and 2007 winner Mike Weir (61) and Bryce Molder (63) followed at 15 under. Weir had a chance for the fourth 59 in PGA Tour history, but parred the final three holes.
For most of the day, the tourney seemed to be a duel between Fowler and Matteson, who traded salvos on Grayhawk’s Raptor Course.
Fowler entered in a five-way tie at 12 under, four strokes back of Matteson. But Fowler quickly charged into the lead.
Fowler aced the par-3, 203-yard fifth hole to go to 17 under and leapfrog Matteson. It was the fourth hole-in-one in two days.
Matteson, playing two groups behind Fowler, responded with an eagle on the par-5 fourth to jump back in front.
Matteson said he didn’t know that Fowler was making a charge because he refused to check out at the leaderboard.
“When you’ve got a little bit of a lead and you start playing good on the front side, the worst thing you can do is look over and see somebody is 5, 6, 7 under on the day,” Matteson said.