Tide's Swan Wins First U.S. Amateur Match

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Doesn't matter that he's not really a morning person by nature. Montgomery's Matthew Swan says drawing a 6:50 a.m. CT tee time Thursday is just fine with him because it means the University of Alabama senior golfer is still alive and in the hunt at the 108 U.S. Amateur Championship.



Swan finished T-8th in stroke play Tuesday to advance to Wednesday's first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur which is being played this week at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. The tournament began with 315 golfers and two rounds of stroke play, one on Monday and the second on Tuesday. After some playoffs for spots on Wednesday morning, the top 64 scorers made the cut into match play.

Alabama's All-Southeastern Conference golfer drew the 2008 Atlantic 10 Conference champion, Rob Chappell, in the first round of match play Wednesday morning. Swan defeated the University of Dayton senior 4 & 2. Swan will play Florida State junior Drew Kittleson, a Scottsdale, Arizona native who helped the Seminoles win the school's first Atlantic Coast Conference golf championship this past season with his sixth place individual finish.

The winner of that match will play his third round match Thursday afternoon at 12:25 CT.

"It was good," said Swan by phone of his match against Chappell. "Through eight holes I was two down, and I really wasn't playing that bad. I made eight pars, and the other guy had two birdies. But then on number nine I birdied nine and (then) ten, and that kind of really turned it around, got it back to even. And then I was able to keep that momentum going and finish up. I started putting better on the last nine holes."

Swan, who had played Pinehurst No. 2 where all the match play is being contested this week, says he has played the course prior to this week's amateur and enjoys playing here.

"I like it a lot," said Swan who played No. 2 in the first round of match play and shot 71 then played Pinehurst No. 4 in the second round and shot 68 on the par 70 courses. "It's a fun course. It's a lot different than a lot of the courses we play, around the greens at least, all the hills and slopes. You can hit a ball and land it on the green and it will roll way off down into a swell or something. So it's more fun. You have to use your imagination around the greens a lot more than what you normally would."

This is the fourth appearance in the U.S. Amateur for Swan and the third time the 21-year-old has advanced to match play. Because of his strong finish in stroke play (he finished five shots back from medalist Robbie Fillmore of Provo, Utah) he'll be in third match off the tee Thursday morning, a distinction that comes with a 6:50 a.m. CT tee time which is 7:50 a.m. at Pinehurst.

"Early. 7:50. Real early," said Swan. "It doesn't really matter. I don't really like getting up early, but once I'm up, I don't really care. And this is definitely something worth getting up early to do."

Success at the U.S. Amateur has been a part of Alabama's golf tradition. Last year, at the 2007 U.S. Amateur, the Tide's Michael Thompson advanced to the final. Jerry Pate won the 1974 U.S. Amateur, and PGA Tour player Dicky Pride and Cecil Ingram both advanced to the semifinals while they were Tide golfers.

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