PUERTO PLATA, Dominican Republic—Thirteen months after missing a putt to extend a playoff at the VISA Open de Argentina, where he was distracted by a fan with Down syndrome who yelled at a critical moment, Brandon Matthews found redemption with a five-shot win at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Puerto Plata Open.
Leading by four after a third-round 63, Matthews proved impossible to catch Sunday at Playa Dorada Golf Course. The 26-year old from Dupont, Pennsylvania, never led by less than three shots, and a final round, 6-under 65 led him to a comfortable five-shot victory. Matthews finished the week at 26-under par 258, with fellow American Jacob Bergeron claiming runner-up honors after firing a final-round-low, 8-under 63.
“Today I was playing myself, because I knew that if I played a good round of golf I was going to be almost impossible to catch. I had 26-under on my mind, and that’s why I kind of gave it a little bit more of a fist pump there at the last,” said Matthews of a round he capped off with a birdie at the last to make it a five-shot margin.
For his winning efforts at Playa Dorada Golf Course, Matthews earned 500 points and $31,500 in the second of two consecutive events that marked the restart of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season after the COVID19 pandemic forced a nine-month break.
Starting the day with a par at the first, a hole where he made birdie-birdie-eagle the first three days, Matthews recorded his first birdie at the par-3 second. “That birdie was really big; settled me down a little bit, got me in the flow of the round,” said the Temple University alum who made his only bogey of the day on the next hole.
After that he pretty much didn’t miss a golf shot, making back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to keep his challengers away. Ahead by four through nine, Matthews opened the back nine with birdies on 10 and 11 to cruise to victory the rest of the way. His last two birdies, on 16 and 18, formed the punctuation mark to a solid weekend in which he shot 14-under.
“I’m really proud that I extended my lead. I think that probably the hardest thing to do in golf is to have a several-shot lead and extend it throughout the day. I really played almost as good as I could have. I put [the ball] in every spot that I needed to put it in and trusted my putter a lot,” said the man who now ranks third on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit.
Matthews didn’t see his Puerto Plata win as any sort of vindication after losing the 2019 Argentine Open. “You know, things happen, and I keep telling everyone that I never got upset about [being distracted by the fan]. I don’t hold it over my head at all. It’s not anything like that. My second-place finish there allowed me to regain status on this Tour, so if I didn’t finish second that week I might not be here right now,” added the champion.
Entering the day in a tie for seventh, Conner Godsey shot 64 to finish six shots behind in a two-way tie for third, with Brendon Doyle, who joined Matthews in the last grouping. Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, the other player in the final group, finished another stroke back, in a tie for fifth, with Patrick Newcomb.
Coming off a victory a week ago at the Shell Open, MJ Maguire finished at 18-under to join Argentina’s Leandro Marelli in a tie for seventh. The finish allowed Maguire to earn enough points to take the Order of Merit lead away from Brazil’s Alex Rocha, who now ranks second.
Did you know Brandon Mathews is one of only 30 players with multiple career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica wins? By adding the 2020 Puerto Plata Open title to his win at the 2017 Molino Cañuelas Championship, Matthews became the 17th player with two PGA TOUR Latinoamérica trophies. Ahead of that group are nine players with three wins and four with four wins.
Born in Dupont, Pennsylvania on July 27, 1994, Brandon Matthews claimed this title at age 26 years, 4 months, 23 days.
The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, was in attendance on this final day and he presented the tournament trophy to Brandon Matthews during the closing ceremony. https://www.instagram.com/p/CJCa5y2AlvB/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=13&wp=1080&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pgatour.com&rp=%2Fla%2Fen%2Fnews%2F2020%2F12%2F20%2Fmatthews-cruises-to-five-shot-win-in-puerto-plata.html#%7B%22ci%22%3A1%2C%22os%22%3A1316%2C%22ls%22%3A953%2C%22le%22%3A993%7D
At 26-under for the week, Brandon Matthews tied the second-lowest 72-hole total recorded on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. At 29-under, Alexandre Rocha set the Tour record during his win at the 2020-21 season-opening Estrella del Mar Open in March. Alvaro Ortiz finished that same event as runner-up, at 26-under, for a number that Matthews matched today.
Brandon Matthews’ 26-under total is by four shots a new 72-hole record at Playa Dorada Golf Course. The previous mark had been set by Andrés Gallegos, who shot 22-under in his 2018 win.
Brandon Matthews improved his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career record to two wins and six top-10 finishes in only 15 starts.
By collecting 500 points as a tournament winner, Brandon Matthews increased his season’s point total to 548 to move into the third spot on the Order of Merit, which is now led by MJ Maguire. Winner of the Shell Open a week ago, Maguire tied for seventh Sunday to move past Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha at the top of the standings.
The following are the updated Order of Merit standings through the third event of the 2020-21 season:
|1||2||MJ Maguire (U.S.)||593|
|2||1||Alex Rocha (Brazil)||561|
|3||34||Brandon Matthews (U.S.)||548|
|4||3||Álvaro Ortiz (Mexico)||338|
|5||4||Andrés Gallegos (Argentina)||337|
|6||47||Jacob Bergeron (U.S.)||329|
|7||8||Leandro Marelli (Argentina)||253|
|8||5||Raul Pereda (Mexico)||240|
|9||6||Rowin Caron (Netherlands)||219|
|10||7||Chris Wiatr (U.S.)||217|
Jacob Bergeron carded a bogey-free 63 to move from a tie for seventh into solo second. He recorded birdies on Nos. 1, 4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 15 and 18 for the lowest round of the day. The runner-up finish is a career-best for the 22-year old from Louisiana, whose lone top-10 prior to today was a tie for ninth at the 2019 Bupa Match Play.
Joining Bergeron in the tie for seventh at the beginning of the day, Conner Godsey had the hottest start of the afternoon, going birdie-par-birdie-birdie-eagle over the first five holes. He ended up carding a 64 to tie for third, which is also his best career finish in 11 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career starts. His previous-best was a tie for fourth at the 2017 Flor de Caña Open in Nicaragua.
Inside the top three the entire week, Brendon Doyle turned his first made cut of the season into tie for third, at 20-under. The Indiana University alum had two eagles, 19 birdies and three bogeys.
Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, who shot 63-63 to hold the lead for the first 36 holes, shot 71-68 on the weekend to tie for fifth. This was Tosti’s second top-five this season, having finished solo fifth at the season-opening Estrella del Mar Open in March. Tosti now ranks 11th on the Order of Merit, having shot 63 or better in four of the 10 rounds he has played this year.
Improving his performance in each of his three starts this PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, Patrick Newcomb has steadily climbed the Order of Merit standings. He started the year with a tie for 55th at the Estrella del Mar Open, tied for 12th at the Shell Open last week and following a bogey-free 67 in the final round tied for fifth in Puerto Plata. He moved into the 13th spot on the Order of Merit.
In a tie for 10th, at 16-under, Juan José Guerra finished the week as the leading player from the Dominican Republic. The 23-year old rookie shot 67 Sunday to record his second top-10 in three starts this season. Guerra ranks 18th on the Order of Merit. Willy Pumarol, the only other local to make the cut, shot 70 today to tie for 44th.
“I had 26-under on my mind because I knew that if I got to 26-under today that it was going to be almost impossible for them to catch me.”—Brandon Matthews
“My putter was with me this week. I putted really nice and felt really confident on these greens.” —Brandon Matthews
“I’m just looking forward to the next event, where I can try to get my second win of the year and then hopefully get a battlefield promotion (to the Korn Ferry Tour).” —Brandon Matthews
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead and keep progressing, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of thing. I’m just happy to be in this position right now and look forward to what I can do in the next few months.”—Brandon Matthews