HE PLAYED LIKE A CHAMPION. Now, Saucon Valley Country Club’s Matthew Mattare is being rightfully honored as one.
Mattare, winner of this year’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Open Championship,
took home the Association’s 2017 William
Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award. He beat
out Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Gregor Orlando,
winner of the 2017 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, by a 140.8-point margin.
It’s an achievement Mattare’s been working
toward since he was 12 years old, back when
he first began competing on the GAP circuit.
In those days, he was a neophyte to the game
standing just 5 feet tall. Fast forward 20 years
and Mattare, a Jersey City, N.J. resident, has
blossomed into a 6-foot- 3 golfer who can
now call himself this season’s best amateur in
“I really never even sniffed any tops of lead-
erboards or trophies back then,” said Mattare
of his GAP Junior days. “This Award just gives
me a sense of validation, in a way. It’s been
a long journey. I couldn’t be more honored
to call myself [Player of the Year] in such a
The recognition comes just one season
following Mattare’s breakthrough in the 2016
GAP Middle-Amateur at Waynesborough
Country Club. It was there where he took
home his first Major title following a four-hole
“Getting that one off my back was big. I
knew I could compete at a high level regionally
and nationally because I’d routinely been in
the hunt,” said the 32-year-old. “But that one
showed that I could close the deal and come
out on top.”
This go around, Mattare’s season started
with optimism early thanks to a pair of even-
par 70s and a Top- 5 finish in his Middle-Am-
ateur title defense at Overbrook Golf Club.
This was bookended by a pair of runner-up
performances in the New Jersey State Mid-Am
and in the Metropolitan Golf Association’s first
Major of the year, The Ike (the MGA’s Stroke
That hot start set the stage for what could
be considered this year’s No. 1 headline. Mat-
tare’s unthinkable 8-under 63 at Philadelphia
Country Club in the first round of the Golf
Association of Philadelphia Open Champion-
ship was the talk of the town. That course
record, combined with a second-round 75,
propelled Mattare to his second Major trophy.
Nine birdies fell into the bottom of the cup
that first day.
“I got into a zone that I hadn’t ever been in
before, one you never know if you’ll ever get
back to. It was an incredible feeling that, as a
competitive golfer, was extremely special,” he
said. “I’ll never forget it. Luckily I was able to
hold it together on the second day and picked
up a trophy over a field full of top amateurs
and the area’s best professionals.”
He said there was only one day that can top
his recent record-breaking performance — the
day he qualified for the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur
Championship, played on his home turf.
“I’ve never felt more pressure in my life and
I’ve never been more focused than that day.
It changed me as a player. I’ve always loved
the pressure that comes with the spotlight,
but this was a whole new level than I’d ever
experienced. I had all my friends, family, local
media and others depending on me to make
it through [to the championship] in order to
represent Saucon. I’ve never felt relief like
when that last putt dropped and I knew I’d
made it. It set the stage for an incredible week
for not only myself, but for our club as well,”
said Mattare, who earned a berth that day
as a result of an even-par 70 at Huntingdon
Valley Country Club.
Mattare would go on to thrive under that
blanket of pressure. In fact, thrived is an understatement – Mattare fought his way to the
Round of 16 before being bounced by Walker
Cupper Todd White. Ever since then, he said
there’s been a certain internal flare to his
game and attitude toward winning. Externally,
his recent success speaks for itself.
To top off what will go down as his most
memorable summer to date, Mattare traveled
north to compete in the MGA’s 115th Amateur
Championship, held Aug. 3-6 at Laurel Links
Country Club. The trophy was his after going
the full 36 holes in the final to defeat Fiddler
Elbow Country Club’s Bradley Lankler, 1-up.
He’d round out his year by recording a tie-for-eighth finish in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup at
Wilmington Country Club (South).
During his Player’s Dinner acceptance
speech at Huntingdon Valley, Mattare made
some notable shoutouts to his support
system. A special one went to his father,
Gene, who serves as Saucon Valley’s General
Manager and Director of Golf. But to Mattare,
he’s much more than just that. He’s also his
role model and teacher.
“My dad unfortunately couldn’t be here to-
night due to recent knee-replacement surgery,
but if he were, I’d have him come up here
and accept this award with me,” said Mattare
that night. “I couldn’t have asked for a better
mentor and friend to guide me, and as my
only teacher I’ve had ever had, this is as much
his award as it is mine.”
The 2008 graduate of the University of Notre
Dame wears his Irish pride loud and clear,
whether it’s on his visor or through subtle
“Go Irish” comments around the golf course.
Although it’s not quite comparable to his alma
mater fanhood, his appreciation for the GAP is
well known, too.
“[GAP] is hands down the best Association
in the country,” said Mattare. “Whether it’s the
tournament team running events like we’re
on the PGA Tour, or the communications staff
providing live updates or video, it really doesn’t
get better. We’re really lucky out here.” m
Saucon Valley Country Club
BY DAN SCOFIELD
WILLIAM HYNDMAN,III PLAYER OF THE YEAR