WINS 2-DAY EVENT ON FINAL HOLE OVER BERLINER
Story & Photos by Bob Weiner
LOUDONVILLE – One of the most difficult shots Anders Mattson teaches his students is a flop shot from the rough, especially when there is very little room between the player and the pin.
That’s exactly the situation the Saratoga National Golf Club Director of Instruction faced on the final hole of the Northeastern New York PGA Omega Tour Championship. Mattson, 37, passed his own test with flying colors, executing a soft flop shot from the rough to within 4-feet of the cup and then rolling in the par putt to capture the title over 7-time section Player of the Year Scott Berliner Wednesday at Shaker Ridge Country Club.
Mattson finished the two-day season-ending event with a two-day total of 143 (+1). He shot a final-round 74 and earned a first-place check worth $1,250. Berliner, who was tied with Mattson as the duo headed to the 18th green, finished with a 3-putt bogey and a two-day total of 72-72. He still ended up winning the Omega Cup as the section’s Player of the Year and earned a check for $1,650. Mattson finished second in the Omega Cup standings after vaulting from 19th place.
This is Mattson’s second career NENY PGA major. He also won the section’s Stroke Play Championship.
‘HAD TO GO FOR IT’
“The flop shot is not my specialty,” said Mattson, a multiple winner of the NENY PGA’s Teacher of the Year award. “But I knew I had to go for it.
“Scott was in excellent position in the fairway, and knowing that I was several shots in front of the third-place finisher took some of the pressure off me to give the shot a try. You have to commit to the shot from the thick rough, and I was lucky enough to pull it off.
“Playing in these tournaments are stressful,” Mattson added.
“This is where I got an idea of what my students are going through when they play. The course played tough today. I played very well in the first round, but I didn’t have my A game today. I was just trying to hang in there. I know Scott is a very tough player to beat.”
Mattson, who fired a 69 (-2) in the first round to lead Berliner by 3 shots, birdied the first hole and bogeyed the third to finish the front nine with an even-par 36. But he got into trouble on the back nine. He pulled his tee shot into a hazard on the 10th hole, but he was able to blast out and just missed the green to the right. He failed to get up and down for a bogey.
On the 11th hole, he hit his approach into the water in front of the green and finished the hole with a triple-bogey 7, enabling Berliner to grab a 2-shot lead. “I took the wrong club on the 11th hole and didn’t play that hole very well at all,” Mattson said. “But I regrouped after that and never gave up.”
Mattson, a Queensbury-native, made a key up-and-down par on the par-3 12th hole to settle his nerves. He birdied the par-5 13th hole and moved back into a tie with Berliner when Berliner bogeyed the par-3 16th hole.
“Anders played great this week,” Berliner said. “He started right out today with a birdie on the first hole. I was just trying to stay in front of Dal (Daily) so I could hold onto the points lead.
“Obviously, Anders played great (Tuesday). For me, it’s just fun to be in the hunt. I enjoy being in the middle of the competition. We have a lot of guys in this section who can really play. Anders is one of them. He’s been injured quite a bit the last few years, but he can play when he’s healthy.”
The Luzerne-native said he played a conservative approach shot on the 18th hole after Mattson missed the green in the left rough. “I played to the middle of the green, but unfortunately, I left myself in 3-putt territory,” Berliner said.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I played today,” said the 41-year-old Hiland Golf Club assistant pro. “I won two majors this year. My goal was to win all 4 majors, but I’ll take it. It was a fun year.”
143 (+1): Anders Mattson (Saratoga National) 69-74
144 (+2): Scott Berliner (Hiland Golf Club) 72-72
147 (+5): Justin Hearley (Normanside CC) 75-72
148 (+6): Dal Daily (Windham CC) 73-75
149 (+7): John Neet (Golf Galaxy-Albany) 74-75, Jim Jeffers (Hiland Golf Club) 74-75
151 (+9): Ian Breen (Saranac Lake GC) 75-76, Frank Mellet (Colonie G&CC) 76-75
152 (+10): Peter Gerard (Mill Road Acres) 77-75, Steve Vatter (Capital Hills) 74-78
153 (+11): Tony Manziano (Northway GC) 82-71, Scott Battiste (Eagle Crest GC) 79-74
154 (+12): Tom Sullivan (Wyantenuck CC) 78-76
155 (+13): Eric Mabee (CC of Pittsfield) 77-78
157 (+15): Brian Lowe (Catskill GC) 84-73, Bob Cain (Saratoga National) 77-80
160 (+18): Tom Oppedisano (Skidmore College) 80-80, John Souza (Ballston Spa C) 77-83
161 (+19): Kyle Kressler (Cedar View) 83-78
167 (+25): Brian Hampson (Normanside CC) 82-85
173 (+31): Rich Scott (Fox Run GC) 84-89
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