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July 16 2012

1:59 AM

Matteson pleased with result

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Troy Matteson earned a trip to the British Open via his finish at the John Deere Classic.
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM Afterward, there wasn't much Troy Matteson could sulk about. Sure, he didn't finish off a wire-to-wire victory at the John Deere Classic on Sunday in Silvis, Ill. And sure, all he had to do was make a bogey -- yes, a bogey -- in a playoff to win. Then he considered the positives: -- Zach Johnson hit one of the best shots of the season to beat him on the second playoff hole, this after Matteson canned a crowd-pleasing 60-foot eagle putt on the 71st hole just to join him. -- Matteson is headed to the British Open for the first time. -- Matteson recorded his best finish of the season -- his first in the top 25, for that matter -- and skyrocketed 75 spots to 73rd in the FedExCup standings. Not too shabby. "Yeah, I mean, it's been great," Matteson said after shooting a 69 to finish with Johnson at 20 under. "For how I played this year, this has been a really good finish for me. I'm not disappointed at all really. "I'm kind of shocked I got into a playoff because I just didn't play my best today, but kind of hung in there." He certainly did. Every time Steve Stricker seemed to put the pressure on with a birdie, Matteson seemed to answer by sticking a short iron in tight. He made a 14-footer for birdie on the seventh, and followed a bogey on the ninth with a birdie on the 10th to get back to 19 under to retain his two-shot lead. And when he birdied the 13th to reach 20 under, it seemed he was destined to pick up his third win on the PGA TOUR. But the par-4 15th erased such ideas for the time being. After missing the green on his approach, Matteson fluffed his chip and then stubbed the next one. He then missed a 6-footer en route to a double-bogey 6. Matteson would get it back on the 17th when he rattled his eagle putt home. He then made a nifty par on the 18th, punching out from the right trees onto the green. Matteson found nearly the same spot off the tee on the first playoff hole, this time finding the water hazard with his second shot. But Johnson also hit it in the hazard and both players carded double bogeys. "You know, it's kind of weird, because when it's a match play situation, par goes out the window," Matteson said. "Zach laughed when he got up on the tee. He goes, 'Man, made 6 and I guess we still got the honor.'" On the second playoff hole, Matteson really didn't have much of a chance. His second shot landed 42 feet from the hole -- a respectable shot on the difficult 18th -- while Johnson's rolled up to within a foot. "All in all, you go into a playoff and lose to a shot like that, I mean, that's an unbelievable shot," said Matteson, who qualified for the British as the highest finisher among the top five not already exempt for the tournament. "To hit it 6 inches to that hole location, I mean, if you ask most pros, they'll take middle of the green where my ball was all day long. "My hat's off to Zach."
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