WESTON, Florida –Standing on the 10th tee, coming off a missed two-footer for birdie on No. 9 to shoot even-par on the front-nine, Brandon Matthews knew he was running out of time at The Club at Weston Hills Open. With only nine holes left to make up a lot of ground, he went on to make five birdies, three of those over the final four holes, lifting him to a one-shot win over fellow American Sam Stevens.
Playing a group ahead of Matthews, Stevens carded a bogey-free 66, making pars on the final four holes to take the clubhouse lead, at 21-under. Matthews needed one more birdie, at the 72nd hole, to avoid a playoff and clinch the win.
“I just felt good. It’s kind of hard to describe that feeling when you are in the moment and you are feeling really good about things,” said Matthews about his mindset playing the 585-yard par-5 final hole. “I felt really good over that third shot. I knew I was going to hit it solid. I knew I was going to hit it close.”
That third shot came with a gap wedge from 138 yards, and his ball landed within three feet for a stress-free birdie. Matthews carded a final-round 67 that moved him to 22-under, good for his second victory in his last three starts. As the only two-time winner this season, the 26-year-old charged into the top spot of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Points List, moving past Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz, who missed the cut this week.
“This one was really great for me because I didn’t really have the putter over the weekend, and I still grinded it out,” said the Temple University alum. “The fact that I was able to put trust in myself for (the last) nine holes, making some great putts coming down the stretch, words really cannot describe how much confidence that gives me to keep doing that at a high level.”
With their sights set on moving to the Korn Ferry Tour next season, Matthews and the rest of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica players are now headed to Bucaramanga, Colombia, where the Holcim Colombia Classic presented by Volvo is scheduled to start on Thursday.
Did you know Brandon Matthews is the second-quickest PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champion to get to three career wins? It took him 17 starts to get to this point, only trailing FabiánGómez, who reached his third PGA TOUR Latinoamérica victory in six starts. Gómez, who went on to win on the PGA TOUR, won the Argentina Classic in three consecutive seasons in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
In order to save time and to prevent further weather delays, the 64 players who made the cut were not re-grouped between the third and fourth rounds.
Because of the lightning delays the past couple of days, Brandon Matthews was among a group of players who had to play 30 holes Sunday. At 13-under for the tournament, he resumed the third round on the seventh hole at 8 a.m.
Brandon Matthews earned this victory at age 26 years, 10 months, 17 days.
Brandon Matthews became only the 14th player with three or more wins on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In addition to his three wins (2017 Molino Cañuelas Championship and the 2020 Puerto Plata Open), he was also the runner-up at the 2019 VISA Open de Argentina, where he lost a playoff. He also finished solo third at the 2017 Puerto Plata Open.
By collecting 500 points as a tournament winner for the second time this season, Brandon Matthews increased his season’s point total to 1,065 to become the new Points List No. 1 player. Matthews now holds a 227-point advantage over Alvaro Ortiz, who missed the cut and slipped into the second spot, with 838 points. The following are the updated standings through the fifth event of the 2020-21 season:
This is Brandon Matthews’ second stint as a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica No. 1 player. He held that position for three consecutive tournaments after his win at the Molino Cañuelas Championship in 2017, an injury-plagued season that saw him go on to finish 13th on the Order of Merit.
The runner-up finish was a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career-best for Sam Stevens. The 24-year-old Oklahoma State University alum has been quite consistent this season, with finishes in the top-12 in his three previous starts (tied for 11th at the Estrella del Mar Open, tied for 12th at the Shell Open and tied for ninth at the Mexico Open). Stevens gained 11 spots on the Points List, moving into the fifth position. As a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica rookie, Stevens made 15 starts in 2019 to finish 47th on the Order of Merit. His best finish and only top-10 that year was a tie for fourth at the Brazil Open.
“You know, I ask a lot of myself. I have very high goals for myself, very high standards, and I try to meet them. I’ve been doing a great job at it lately, so if I can continue that path, we are going to be in a great spot.”—Brandon Matthews’ thoughts on reaching the top of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Points List
“The confidence that I have in my ball-striking right now is pretty high, and if I can continue to strike it like this and make a couple more putts it’s going to be fine.”—Brandon Matthews
“There have been times in my career where that would have affected me a lot more, and I wouldn’t have won this golf tournament. That was by far the biggest thing that I’m going to take out of this.”—Brandon Matthews on the way he reacted to the two-footer he missed for birdie on No. 9
“I just lipped out real hard for birdie (on No. 14), and I knew I had to get two (birdies) coming in, at least. I got to 15, the wind should have been a little bit into, and it was actually a comfortable drive for me. I picked up the tee and walked away and it flew into the middle of the trees. I thought it was going to end up in the right center of the fairway. (I was) fortunate enough to get through the trees there and into the other fairway. I had a good (yardage) number and hit a great pitching wedge in there from 150 (yards). That was one I was really committed on, and I holed that putt and then hit another great one in there on 16, too.”—Brandon Matthews describing his birdie on 15 to start his birdie-birdie-par-birdie finish
Partly cloudy, with a high of 93 and humidity at 56 percent. Wind W at 6 mph.