Matteson Claims Maiden Title

By Sports NetworkApril 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourVIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Troy Matteson fired a 4-under 68 on Sunday to collect his first Nationwide Tour win at the Virginia Beach Open. Matteson completed the event at 13-under-par 275.
'This is a big step for me because I haven't won professionally,' said Matteson, who earned $81,000 for his first win on tour. 'This gets me into the brotherhood of professional golfers. It's important because this is just my second year out here and I think it solidifies that I'm in this peer group.'
Chris Couch, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, posted a 2-under 70 to take second place at 11-under-par 277. David Branshaw and Chris Tidland shared third place at 10-under-par 278. Bubba Watson finished one shot further back at minus-9.
Matteson got off to a quick start with birdies at two and five to move one shot out in front. After Tidland joined Matteson in the lead, Matteson regained a one-shot advantage with a birdie at the sixth.
The 25-year-old Matteson ran off five straight pars around the turn. He picked up another birdie at the 12th to take a four-shot lead. The Georgia Tech alum slipped to his only bogey at the par-4 14th at the TPC at Virginia Beach.
However, Couch joined Matteson in the lead thanks to birdies at 14 and 15. Matteson then regained the lead with a birdie on the par-5 16th.
'I knew whoever birdied the 16th would have the upper hand,' Matteson said.
He parred the final two holes for his first tour title.
'I didn't make a very good swing on it and happened to push it a little,' said Matteson of his approach to the 18th. 'I was nervous a bit, but it was about the easiest putt I could have asked for. It was a little in the right-center and up the hill. Anytime you get those you feel like you can make them.'
Couch began his round two strokes behind overnight leader Jerry Smith and opened with four straight pars before picking up a birdie at the par-5 fifth.
The 31-year-old carded another birdie at the eighth, but he tripped to a bogey at the next. Couch fought back with a birdie on No. 11.
Couch faltered to another bogey at the 13th, but rebounded with consecutive birdies from the 14th to gain a share of the lead. He tripped to another bogey at the last to finish two off the pace.
Danny Ellis and Chad Collins each closed with rounds of 2-under 70 to share sixth place at 7-under-par 281.
Smith held the lead through three days thanks to rounds of 65-67 on Friday and Saturday. However, he closed with a 5-over 77 to end at 6-under-par 282. He was joined there by Kevin Durkin, Robert Garrigus, Jeff Gove and Grant Waite.
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