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The dogleg-right, par-4 finishing hole at Victoria National GC is 432 yards on the scorecard, with the layout running around a lake that can wreck your score if not played well.
Most players will usually attempt to play around the water, unless your name is Brandon Matthews, who took a more direct line to the green as his 370 yard drive landed on the front edge and came to finish not far from the flag.
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Since 2012, there has been no mention of any player driving the green, unsurprisingly, but that all changed on Friday.
Needing an eagle at the last to make it into the weekend, Matthews decided to go for the green. Measuring 368 yards on a direct line, with a carry of “somewhere around 330 to 340” yards over the water, the ball was crushed as it landed on the front edge and rolled to around 15-foot.
Unfortunately, his eagle effort just slid by the hole and he missed the cut by one shot. However, the American could take a crumb of comfort in the fact he secured a PGA Tour card for next season, as Matthews is set to tee make his Tour debut at the Fortinet Championship later this month.
Speaking after his round, Matthews was asked about that moment on 18, with the 28-year-old admitting that: “Our line was… there are some red umbrellas on the clubhouse that we saw. That was kind of our line, if we had any bit of help at all. If I wasn’t in that position, I wouldn’t be hitting driver at the green… I love doing stuff like that. It’s fun.”
One of Matthews' playing partners, Ben Martin, added: “Thomas Detry takes an aggressive line off 18 tee, and the guy behind us says, ‘That’s an aggressive line,’ and then Brandon turns to the guy and says, ‘You want to see an aggressive line? Watch this.
“We thought it might go in, when it was in the air, and then walking off the tee, he said he needed to make eagle to make the cut. We were all pulling for him; that was pretty cool. I said, ‘I don’t think Fazio had this in mind when he designed the 18th hole.'"
“Not directly at it … that’s a little crazy,” remarked Matthews. “Our line was … there are some red umbrellas on the clubhouse that we saw. That was kind of our line, if we had any bit of help at all.
“If I wasn’t in that position, I wouldn’t be hitting driver at the green … I love doing stuff like that. It’s fun.”
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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