IT’S NOT EVERYDAY GAP Junior golfers get to share a moment with legends such as Tiger Woods or to compete on Augusta’s magical turf.
But when contending in – and winning a
national championship trophy, you sure do.
Enter Northampton Country Club’s
Matthew Vital, winner of the Boys 12-13
age group in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship April 7 at Augusta National Golf
Club. Vital finished first in the division’s
chipping competition, in addition to third
in both the driving and putting challenges
en route to the top prize.
The eighth grader at Lehigh Valley Academy generated a few top moments during his
championship run. A 30-footer on Augusta’s
18th green helped him secure the title, as
did a clinching chip-in that quickly began
circulating on social media platforms. Time
with the pros was pretty cool, too.
“The putt and chip were amazing. I also
got to spend some time with Tiger – he was
three feet next to me – which was very cool,”
said Vital, who qualified locally at Moselem
Springs Golf Club before advancing through
subregionals at The ACE Club and eventually
regionals at Congressional Country Club.
“When I was outside the ropes [Monday],
hanging out on No. 18, Justin Thomas came
over, shook my hand and congratulated me.”
On-premise support was abundantly
strong, thanks to the attendance of Vital’s
father Gus, mother Arlene, twin broth-
er Michael and sister Maia. Cheers from
Northampton friends started to flow in
“I’ve been getting a bunch of congrat-
ulations from everyone,” said Vital, 13, of
Bethlehem, Pa. “It means a lot.”
Vital is no stranger to top competition. In
2017, he became the youngest player ( 11)
to qualify for the Lehigh Valley Amateur
Championship at Green Pond Country Club.
He then carded a career-low 68 last season in
a Lehigh Valley Junior Golf Tour event at Iron
Lakes Country Club.
“I’ve been playing golf since I was 2 years
old,” said the 3. 5 handicapper. “My family
joined Northampton last April. I spend a lot
of time both practicing and playing there.”
If it wasn’t the case before, it sure is now.
Drives, chips and putts are Vital.
Northampton’s Matthew Vital wins DCP title
1998 Masters Champion Mark O’Meara with Vital
By Dan Scofield