Matthews fires opening 63, leads by one at Weston Hills
June 10, 2021
By Staff, PGATOURLA.COM
- June 10, 2021
- Brandon Matthews matched the course record with a bogey-free 63 Thursday at The Club at Weston Hills Open. (Media/PGA TOUR)
WESTON, Florida – Entering the The Club at Weston Hills Open ranked fourth on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica points standings, Brandon Matthews went on the attack late this afternoon. The 26-year-old from Dupont, Pennsylvania, fired a course record-tying 9-under 63 to claim the outright lead and put pressure on the trio of players ahead of him on the race to move up to the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I felt coming into this, that as long as I drive it well and putt it well, I’m going to be in a good spot come Sunday,” said the Temple University alum whose bogey-free 63 came just one shot short of matching his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica lowest round.
Matthews finished the day one shot ahead of fellow American and pairing partner Jordan Hahn, a Korn Ferry Tour member making his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut, and Italy’s Domenico Geminiani, an Open qualifier who led the morning wave with a bogey-free performance.
Argentina’s Tommy Cocha stands in a tie for fourth along with Puerto Rico’s Edward Figueroa, both posting rounds of 65 in the afternoon. There are eight players tied for sixth at 66, including Tour No. 2 M.J. Maguire.
Starting off No. 10, Matthews shot 4-under 32 on his opening nine and then went birdie-birdie off No. 1. Following four consecutive pars, he closed out his day with a string of three birdies, including an impressive one at the 430-yard par-4 No. 9.
“I was kind of indecisive about what I was doing off the tee. I ended up kind of hitting a block out there with my 4-wood. I had a little bit of an opening, I had to sneak something under a tree and hook it about 15-20 yards and I hit an awesome golf shot,” he said of the 188-yard 7-iron he hit within 20 feet.
Did you know Brandon Matthews has recorded four top-3 finishes in only 16 career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica? His solid Tour record includes two career wins at the 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, and finished solo third at the 2017 Puerto Plata Open.
This is a 72-hole event with a cut for the top-55 and ties through 36 holes.
With his opening 63, Brandon Matthews managed to tie the Tour Course record set by Richard Terga during a U.S. Open qualifier played here in 2003. This was Matthews’ second 63 of the season, with the first one coming during the third round of his victory at the Puerto Plata Open last December. His PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career low is a 9-under 62 posted during the opening round of the 2017 Colombia Open.
Playing together, Brandon Matthews (9-under) and Jordan Hahn (8-under) combined to shoot 17-under. Mexico’s Alejandro Villasana, the third player on that threesome, took the opposite direction, carding an 8-over 80 that left him in last place.
“Jordan was great. He played such great golf today. He shot 8-under and honestly it should have been 10,” said Matthews, who wondered what their best-ball score would have been. Well, that would be a 14-under 58, with an eagle and 12 birdies.
Standing two inches taller than Matthews at 6-6, University of Wisconsin alum Jordan Hahn is probably the tallest player in this week’s field. Hahn is making his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut by virtue of his Korn Ferry Tour status. He actually made his Korn Ferry Tour debut last month, finishing T45 and the Visit Knoxville Open and missing the cut in two others starts.
After a successful Open Qualifying performance last Friday, Domenico Geminiani had a good feeling heading into this event. He turned the good vibes into a flawless 8-under 64 Thursday morning and finished the day trailing by one. “I like this golf course a lot. I won here when I was a kid,” said the Italian player who was born in Martinique but has lived most of his life in Bradenton, Florida.
Geminiani was a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member in 2019, but he made only two starts that year. Without Tour status, he has devoted most of his time to qualifying events. “I did a lot of Monday qualifiers lately, played solid but didn’t get in on any, so that was tough. I’m just going day by day honestly,” said the 25-year-old who turned pro almost ten years ago. Past Monday Qualifying efforts have earned him a trio of PGA TOUR starts at the 2015 Mayakoba Classic, the 2018 Barbasol Championship and the 2020 Puerto Rico Open.
Entering the week ranked tenth on the Tour standings, Argentina’s Leandro Marelli got off to a blistering start, going eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie to shoot 5-under on the first four holes. He went cold after that, making two birdies and two bogeys on the remaining 14 for a 5-under 67 that ties for 21st.
Defending the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica top spot and warming up to play the U.S. Open next week at Torrey Pines, Mexico’s Álvaro Ortiz also got off to a promising start with birdies on his first two holes (10 and 11). He added another birdie on 18 and then made nine pars on the front to finish in a tie for 28th at 3-under.
This is how the players inside the Points List top 10 started the tournament today at The Club at Weston Hills:
Álvaro Ortiz (Mexico)
T28, 69 (-3)
MJ Maguire (U.S.)
T6, 66 (-6)
Alexandre Rocha (Brazil)
T78, 72 (par)
Brandon Matthews (U.S.)
1, 63 (-9)
Drew Nesbitt (Canada)
T97, 73 (+1)
Andrés Gallegos (Argentina)
T130, 76 (+4)
Jacob Bergeron (U.S.)
T21, 68 (-4)
Alejandro Tosti (Argentina)
T46, 70 (-2)
Raúl Pereda (Mexico)
T130, 76 (+4)
Leandro Marelli (Argentina)
T14, 67 (-5)
Three of the ten players who joined the field at last Friday’s Open Qualifier are inside the top 10 after the opening round: Domenico Geminiani (T2, 64), Graysen Huff (T6, 66) and Chris Nido (T6, 66).
Led by Frenchman Jeremy Gandon, who made an eagle and four birdies, there were three players who tied for the low-nine of the day, shooting 6-under 30 on the front nine. The other two were U.S. players Michael Buttacavoli and Trevor Sluman, who had six birdies each. Gandon is tied for sixth at 6-under, while Buttacavoli and Sluman shot 5-under to tie for 14th.
There were 77 under-par scores in the opening round, with 45 rounds in the 60s. The scoring average was 71.145 at the par-72 7,060-yard Tour Course at The Club at Weston Hills.
“(It) helps when you can feed off someone else who is playing great golf and you can keep it going. You know it was really great to kind of feed of each other and kind of go back and forth, make a bunch of birdies.”—Brandon Matthews about combining to shoot 17-under with playing partner Jordan Hahn
“I felt great, played really well. I hit a lot of good shots throughout the day, even finishing on 17 and 18. On 17 I hit a really nice 6-iron and was left with a 15-footer and on 18 I hit a good wedge shot. It was a solid day; I don’t know if I have one shot that stands above the rest. Everything was really solid; I’m happy about that.”—Domenico Geminiani
“I’m used to (the hot weather) I grew up in Florida, so I’m used to the humidity. I was born in the Caribbean, so I’m used to it.”—Domenico Geminiani discussing the hot and humid conditions today
“I played really well, making the putts that I needed to make. I made a long one early on 16, my seventh hole of the day, and also made a couple of three-footers for par that kept the round going. I struck the ball nicely, so feeling good about the week.”—Tommy Cocha after a round of nine birdies and two bogeys
Partly cloudy with a high of 88-degrees and humidity at 53%. Winds ESE at 12 mph.