FLOURTOWN, Pa. – For the second time in three years, Temple University’s Brandon Matthews soared above Philadelphia’s most challenging field in championship form. A rising senior, Matthews overcame 77 other top professionals and amateurs, the mettle testing Wissahickon Course (par 70, 6,975 yards) of Philadelphia Cricket Club and menacing winds to finish at 3-under-par 137 (66-71) for the 36 holes. Josh Rackley, a Gulph Mills Golf Club assistant professional, placed second at 1 under. He secured low professional honors and the $7,000 top prize that goes with it.
Matthews, again, added to Temple’s recent remarkable string of Open successes. The last five Champions all called North Broad Street home. Andrew Mason won in 2011-12, Matthews in 2013 and Matt Teesdale in 2014.
“I’m happy to get the win. [Philadelphia Cricket Club] is unbelievable,” said the 20-year-old Blue Bell Country Club member. “Coach [Brian Quinn] does such a great job with us. I’m just glad I can be part of all this, to be along for the ride. To have him on my side is something special.”
Rackley and Matthews set the pace from the get go on Wednesday. Rackley opened with a new competitive course-record 65, 5 under, in his first round. A 20-foot chip-in birdie on No. 18 (par 4, 487 yards) from the right greenside side rough provided a spectacular finish.
Matthews only trailed by a shot heading into Round 2 despite Rackley’s heroics. Matthews posted an equally impressive 66, 4 under, with three birdies in his last six holes. Strong play considering it was Matthews’ first trip of the Flourtown layout.
Rackley and Matthews started mid-wave in the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. and 1:40 p.m., respectively.
Almost immediately into the second round, the Championship became a Matthews’ coronation.
Leaky ball-striking by Rackley led to a bogey and double bogey in his first four holes. By the time both players made the turn, Matthews, of Dupont, Pa., held a three-shot lead.
Billy Stewart, an assistant professional at The ACE Club, registered a mid-round charge with six birdies in nine holes to squeak into second place, temporarily. Stewart, however, had two late bogeys and Rackley recovered with a birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 476 yards) to forge back ahead for low pro honors. He knocked a downwind 9-iron from 155 yards to eight feet.
Matthews, in the meantime, carded six straight pars on his back nine to erase any doubts about the ultimate outcome. He bogeyed No. 7 (par 5, 554 yards) with a nuclear wedge from 85 yards but finished with three more pars (players started on No. 11 for logistical purposes) to close out his second Open win.
In 2013, Matthews defeated Stewart in a four-hole playoff. This year, no extra time was needed.
“I didn’t falter at the end,” said Matthews of the biggest difference between this victory and the one prior. “I know I made a bogey coming in but that was because the wind shut off. It wasn’t because of a bad swing. I hit some great shots coming in. The last two holes I hit the shots exactly where I was looking. I hit the putts exactly where I was looking. The way I performed down the stretch is really nice to see.”
Rackley, 25, of King of Prussia, Pa., is in his third year at Gulph Mills. In late May, he won the Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic and the $100,000 first-place prize. He also competed in the recent PGA Professional National Championship at Cricket Wissahickon where he tied for 31st, good for $3,700.
Defending champion Matt Teesdale of Commonwealth National Golf Club tied for 13th at 8-over par.
This is Cricket’s eighth time as an Open site, the first since 1962. The first ever Open was staged in 1903 on Cricket’s St. Martins Course.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|(a) Brandon Matthews, Blue Bell Country Club||66-71–137|
|Joshua Rackley, Gulph Mills Golf Club||65-74–139|
|Billy Stewart, The ACE Club||73-67–140|
|George Forster, Radnor Valley Country Club||71-70–141|
|(a) Benjamin Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||74-68–142|
|Mark Sheftic, Merion Golf Club||69-73–142|
|(a) Cory Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club||72-73–145|
|(a) Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||74-71–145|
|(a) Jalen Griffin, Talamore Country Club||74-71–145|
|John Pillar, Sr., Country Club at Woodloch Springs||73-72–145|
|(a) Alexander Hicks, Wildwood Golf & Country Club||74-73–147|
|Hugo Mazzalupi, Philadelphia Cricket Club||71-76–147|
|(a) Christopher Ault, Burlington Country Club||73-75–148|
|(a) Matthew Teesdale, Commonwealth National Golf Club||76-72–148|
|(a) Gregor A. Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club||70-78–148|
|Stuart Ingraham, MGOLF Driving Range & Learning Facility||72-76–148|
|(a) John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club||75-74–149|
|(a) Michael R. Brown, Jr., Links Golf Club||72-77–149|
|(a) Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club||71-78–149|
|(a) Scott McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club||73-76–149|
|(a) Patrick Ross, Huntsville Golf Club||75-74–149|
|Stephen Frederick, Lehigh Country Club||74-75–149|
|Rich Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club||73-76–149|
|David Quinn, Links Golf Club||76-73–149|
|Russell Harbold, Lancaster Country Club||72-77–149|
|(a) Ben Feld, Green Valley Country Club||77-73–150|
|(a) Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club||76-74–150|
|(a) Jeff Osberg, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||77-73–150|
|(a) Benjamin Smith, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||76-74–150|
|(a) Blaine Lafferty, Burlington Country Club||76-74–150|
|John Allen, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||77-73–150|
|Michael Heidler, Bella Vista Golf Club||77-73–150|
|(a) Ryan Gelrod, Philadelphia Cricket Club||79-72–151|
|(a) Scott McNeil, Bala Golf Club||76-76–152|
|(a) Roland Massimino, Jericho National Golf Club||76-76–152|
|Jason Panter, Sand Barrens Golf Club||75-77–152|
|Mark Miller, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club||74-78–152|
|John Appleget, Wildwood Golf & Country Club||74-78–152|
|Jordan Gibbs, Gulph Mills Golf Club||76-76–152|
|Steve Swartz, Conestoga Country Club||79-73–152|
|(a) Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club||74-79–153|
|(a) Jack Wallace, Philadelphia Cricket Club||76-77–153|
|Bertus Wessels, Green Valley Country Club||78-75–153|
|(a) Cole Berman, Philadelphia Cricket Club||76-78–154|
|(a) Evan Thornton, LedgeRock Golf Club||74-80–154|
|Colin Corrigan, Saucon Valley Country Club||80-74–154|
|Jakob Gerney, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia||74-80–154|
|(a) Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club||76-79–155|
|(a) Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club||75-80–155|
|Curtis Kirkpatrick, Indian Spring Country Club||79-76–155|
|John Lynch, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club||76-79–155|
|(a) Robert Savarese, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club||79-77–156|
|(a) Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia Cricket Club||80-76–156|
|John Spina, Philadelphia Cricket Club||79-77–156|
|Gregory Farrow, Deerwood Country Club||79-77–156|
|David McNabb, Applebrook Golf Club||73-83–156|
|Brian Kelly, Bucknell Golf Club||78-78–156|
|John Bierkan, Aronimink Golf Club||78-79–157|
|Chris Krueger, Kings Creek Country Club||76-81–157|
|Mike Meisenzahl, Shore Gate Golf Club||76-81–157|
|(a) David West, Whitford Country Club||78-80–158|
|(a) P.J. Acierno, Sandy Run Country Club||71-87–158|
|Trevor Bensel, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||78-80–158|
|(a) Michael Hyland, Little Mill Country Club||83-76–159|
|Mike Furey, Mahoning Valley Country Club||81-79–160|
|Tom Michaels, Waynesborough Country Club||81-79–160|
|(a) Grant Skyllas, LedgeRock Golf Club||77-84–161|
|(a) Mark Benevento, Jr., Greate Bay Country Club||81-80–161|
|Robert Shuey, The Clubs at Colonial Ridge||83-78–161|
|Mark Parson, Stone Harbor Golf Club||80-82–162|
|(a) Michael Carr, Plymouth Country Club||83-80–163|
|(a) Bobby Kershner, Spring Ford Country Club||78-85–163|
|(a) Lodie Van Tonder, Sakima Country Club||90-75–165|
|Robert Hennefer, Indian Spring Country Club||85-80–165|
|Jim Smith, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club||82-83–165|
|(a) Shawn Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club||81-86–167|
|(a) Tom DiCinti, Old York CC at Chesterfield||86-81–167|
|Stephen Sieracki, Indian Spring Country Club||85-85–170|
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