Eastern Alamance rising senior golf standout Nicholas Mathews qualified earlier this summer for the U.S. Junior Amateur National Golf Tournament, which is being played this week at the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio.
It provided Mathews a chance to see the best of the best among the country’s youth golfers, and served as motivation for him to continue improving his game as he looks to help Eastern claim a NCHSAA 3A state championship on the links in the spring of 2020 following back-to-back Regional and Mid-State Conference titles in 2018 and 2019.
Despite his solid summer on the links, Mathews got off to a tough start in the first round at the U.S. Junior Amateur, as nerves undeniably played a factor in his shooting a 7-over-par 22 over the first four holes, shooting two double bogies on the first and fourth holes, and a triple bogey 7 on the second hole. Mathews pulled himself together and played 1-under-par golf over the remainder of the front nine, converting four pars and making a birdie on the seventh hole.
On the back nine, Mathews got a par on the tenth hole, but was forced to settle for bogies on the 11th and 12th holes. He played the par-5 13th hole aggressively and came away with his second birdie of the day, but a double bogey on 14 offset his gain. Mathews finished out the opening round with three pars and a bogey, ending the day with a 10-over-par 81 on the Inverness Club’s par 71 course.
Mathews played much better in the second round, shooting 3-over-par for the day. Unfortunately, however, Mathews did not make the cut to the next round of competition. After struggling on the early holes in the opening round, Mathews came out sizzling, playing even par golf through the first six holes. Although he shot a bogey on 2 - the second straight day he played that hole over par - Mathews came through with an excellent tee shot on the par 3 fifth hole, and sank his putt for a birdie.
Mathews struggled down the stretch of the back nine on the second day, putting three straight bogies on the board on holes 7, 8, and 9. But he settled down and finished quite strong, playing the back nine of the second round at an even par 36. Though he bogeyed the 12th and 15th holes, Mathews managed back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, coming into his own just as the round was winding down. A par on 18 ended Mathews’ second round with a score of 74.
Mathews’ score of 13-over-par 155 missed the cut to the next round by five strokes. But it was a fantastic opportunity for the Eagles’ rising senior to test himself against some of the top high school and amateur golfers in the entire United States.
Mathews qualified for the U.S. Amateur on June 17 in Salisbury, shooting a 68 at the Country Club of Salisbury to punch his ticket to the nationwide tournament.