Matteson Hits Vegas Jackpot


PGA Tour (75x100)LAS VEGAS -- Troy Matteson posted a 3-under 69 on Sunday to collect his first PGA Tour victory at the Open. He finished at 22-under-par 265 and won by a stroke over Ben Crane and Daniel Chopra at the TPC at Summerlin.
Matteson was the Nationwide Tour's leading money winner last season as he won twice and set that circuit's single-season record for earnings. He posted two top-10s this season on the PGA Tour, but was by no means comfortable.
Troy Matteson
Troy Matteson earned $720,000 for his first PGA TOUR win.
He stood 143rd on the money list heading into Las Vegas and needed a big finish to earn his PGA Tour card for next year. With the win, he gets a two-year exemption and can enjoy the final few weeks of the season.
'There were a lot of things riding, not just the tournament, but my job,' said Matteson, whose top-10s this year were in his last two starts. 'I've been thinking about that all week. You just can't get it out of your head, no matter what you do.'
Crane fired a 7-under-par 65 on Sunday to join Chopra, who posted a 6-under 66, at 21-under-par 266. Frank Lickliter, who holed a long eagle putt at 16 to get into the fray, shot an 8-under 64 and finished alone in fourth at minus-20.
The third round was completed Sunday morning after darkness forced the suspension of play on Saturday. The golfers finished without incident, but due to the design of the course, some final rounds reached six hours in length.
Matteson carried a one-shot lead into the final round and extended the margin with birdies at the par-5 third and the par-4 seventh. He dropped a shot at the par-3 eighth to fall to 20 under par, but was still two ahead of Lickliter and Charley Hoffman.
Matteson converted a 4-foot birdie putt at the 11th to move three clear, but trouble loomed at the par-5 13th. His ball found the fairway, but his fairway-wood approach hit the face of a bunker and shot off into the left rough. He knocked his third short of the green and he putted his fourth 20 feet past the flagstick. Matteson two-putted from there for a bogey, but when Lickliter made his 45-foot eagle putt at 16, the pair was knotted in the lead at 20 under par.
At the par-3 14th, Matteson hit his tee ball 12 feet right of the hole. He sank the birdie putt to move one ahead, but Crane, playing a few groups ahead, made a move.
Crane was only 2 under par on his round until he chipped in for birdie from off the green at the 12th. He rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at the 13th to reach 19 under par.
Crane birdied the par-4 15th to get within one, but when his 6-footer for birdie at the 16th found the bottom of the cup, Crane was tied for the lead with Matteson.
But Matteson still had the reachable, par-5 16th to play. He reached the putting surface with a 5-iron and two-putted from close to 60 feet for a birdie and the lead.
Chopra hit his second at 16 to 6 feet and holed the eagle putt to pull within two. He drained a 28-footer for birdie at 17 and suddenly found himself one down with one to play.
Matteson was one stroke ahead of both Chopra and Crane, but he hit a beautiful approach 8 feet right of the hole at 18. Chopra missed a long birdie try at the closing hole so Matteson had two putts for the win.
He narrowly missed his birdie try, but tapped in for the win.
'There was a lot of pressure,' said Matteson, who pocketed $720,000 for the victory. 'I think we've done pretty good with it.'
Hoffman hit his second at the 16th into the water, essentially eliminating his chances at PGA TOUR win No. 1. He finished with a 1-under 71 and tied for fifth place with two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, who needs some more high finishes to secure his playing privileges for next season. The pair came in at 19-under-par 268.
Bubba Dickerson (67) and Tom Pernice, Jr. (68) shared seventh place at minus-18, while Ron Whittaker (66) and Joey Sindelar (67) tied for ninth at 17-under-par 270.
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