Monday, October 07, 2013 8:40 pm
Boland tops Mattare in 1st round of match play
The Associated Press
The event was held at the par-71, 7,173-yard Country Club of Birmingham's West Course.
Boland, who is playing in his second U.S. Mid-Amateur and third USGA championship, made an 8-foot par putt on the 17th hole to win the match, 2 and 1.
Mattare, who was the medalist after shooting rounds of 67 and 69 in stroke play, became the first top seed eliminated in the first round since 2007.
"Probably pretty close to the best day of my golfing career," said Boland, who survived a 12-for-8 playoff earlier in the day to make the match-play bracket. "I got a little bit lucky, but you have to in match play."
Boland, who failed to qualify for match play in his only previous Mid-Amateur appearance, captured five of six holes on the outward nine for a 4-up lead. He won holes 3, 4 and 7 with pars and set up a birdie at the par-4 6th with well-struck 120-yard gap wedge.
In a back-and-forth match, Mattare, a quarterfinalist at last year's Mid-Amateur, would later win Nos. 10 and 11 with a birdie and par, respectively, to close the gap to 1 down. Boland responded with a birdie at the 305-yard, par-4 12th when his chip shot settled 6 feet from the hole.
Mattare made another run at his opponent when he got up-and-down for par to halve the par-5 15th and won the following hole with a 3-foot par putt.
But his approach shot on No. 17 clipped the last branch on a tree near the green, resulting in a three-putt bogey. Meanwhile, Boland put the match away when he chipped from just off the putting surface to set up the match-clinching putt.
"To do that at the last hole, I was proud of that putt," Boland said. "It felt great and I was relieved. I didn't want it to go any further."
The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship continues with the second and third rounds of match play on Tuesday. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played on Wednesday. The championship is scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Thursday.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.