Temple rising senior Teesdale keeps Open title in Owl family
MALVERN, Pa.–Winning the Open Championship remains a Temple University trend. Matt Teesdale, a rising senior with the Owls, carded a pair of 68s for a 6-under total to win the 110th Open Championship by one shot over fellow amateur Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club on Wednesday at Applebrook Golf Club (par 71, 6,787 yards).
Teesdale’s victory was the fourth consecutive by an Owl. He joins Andrew Mason (2011-12) and Brandon Matthews (2013) in the current lineage of Temple winners.
Rich Steinmetz of Spring Ford Country Club finished at 2-under-par 140 to take low professional honors and the $7,000 first-place prize.
“I’m finally playing some good golf this summer,” said Teesdale, 23, of Maple Glen, Pa., who qualified for his first U.S. Amateur a few weeks ago. “It’s great keeping [the Open Championship title] in the Temple family. Mason texted me last night and said, ‘Play smart. Play your game. Birdies will come. Don’t force anything. It’s a long day. Don’t get upset over one shot.’
“[Temple] coach Quinn sent me a text earlier today. It said ‘Go out and do it. You have the game.’”
All facets of Teesdale’s talents were on display, power, touch and a bit of guile, in the win.
The Commonwealth National Golf Club member finished the morning round a shot behind co-leaders McDermott and pro Josh Rackley of Gulph Mills Golf Club. However, the deficit grew to four strokes before he opened his second, and final, 18, when McDermott birdied three of his first four holes in the afternoon.
Teesdale, about an hour behind McDermott, showed no panic, though. He slowly closed the gap on McDermott with three birdies in his opening eight holes (he started on the back). He made a comfortable 4 on No. 10 (par 5, 573 yards); ripped a 7-iron on No. 15 (par 3, 225 yards) to three feet and made a stellar sand save on No. 16 (par 5, 578 yards) after a 20-yard bunker blast from short left of the green stopped three feet from the cup. Teesdale gave one back with a bogey on No. 18 (par 4, 454 yards) but, at that point, found himself tied with McDermott at 5-under with nine holes to go.
McDermott made a clutch 12-foot par save on No. 18 to close out his round, but before the five-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year jarred the try, word came that Teesdale birdied No. 1 (par 5, 520 yards). He reached the par 5 in two shots, hitting a 6-iron from 208 yards to five feet. His eagle try slid high but Teesdale took the lead with a tap-in birdie. Teesdale added two 3s on the two ensuing holes with a monster drive and tight chip on No. 2 (par 4, 366 yards) and a greenfinding 3-wood tee ball on No. 3 (par 4, 309 yards) that again resulted in a super-short birdie putt. Teesdale, who was now at 8 under and three shots clear of the field, said he knew his status on the leaderboard at that point and went with a conservative approach the rest of the way.
The plan went according to form until No. 9 (par 3, 148 yards) when the final outcome became a bit more tenuous than it should have been. Teesdale pulled a pitching wedge left off the tee into the rough and added a couple poor pitch shots to the mix. He faced a must make four footer for double bogey for the title.
“Just make it,” said Teesdale of his thoughts on the winning putt. “Get it on line. It was straight.”
McDermott came within a swing or two of completing the Golf Association of Philadelphia career grand slam. He’s won the Middle-Amateur and Amateur championships multiple times and the Patterson Cup once.
Only Chris Lange of Overbrook Golf Club has completed the task of winning all four Association Majors.
“I had a great day. I certainly would’ve loved to come out on top, but if you get in the hunt that’s a great accomplishment onto itself,” said McDermott, 39, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “There were points in the day where I thought it was my tournament but [Matt] played spectacular golf and made it his tournament. It wasn’t so much what I did, he took it from me.”
McDermott has now finished in the Top 6 or better five times since 2003. He’s had two runner-up finishes and two third-place showings.
Teesdale’s victory also continued a different Open trend. The last five champions have all been amateurs. In the prior 105 Opens before that, only 12 amateurs broke through with wins.
The last professional to win the Open, ironically, was Steinmetz in 2009.
NOTES–The total purse for the Open was $35,000 … reigning low professional Billy Stewart of The ACE Club finished in a three-way tie for fifth but in a three-way tie for second amongst professionals … The field of 78 breaks down into 40 Association amateurs and 38 Philadelphia PGA Section professionals.
Golf Association of Philadelphia