Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mattiace Sneaks a Peek

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mattiace Sneaks a Peek

Article excerpt

Curiosity got the better of Len Mattiace, so with some time

off a few weeks ago, he flew to Seattle and wandered out to the

Sahalee Golf Club, the site of next week's PGA Championship.

The 30-year-old Ponte Vedra Beach touring pro gave the tight,

relatively short, heavily wooded track a solid thumbs-up as a

major championship venue.

"It's a great course," he said last week, before conducting a

junior clinic at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass. "There

are a lot of trees, and the trees are actually in some of the

fairways. The rough is going to be difficult. It's fairly short,

by our standards, and the greens are medium-sized to small.

But overall, I think the players are going to love it."

Playing in the PGA will kick off a busy late summer and

fall for Mattiace. He's in the midst of his best season on Tour,

highlighted by a tie for fifth at The Players Championship, and

will improve his money list standing for the fourth consecutive

year.

Mattiace is 54th on the current money list with $377,685 --

already $52,029 more than he won last year -- but oddly enough,

he will be playing in his first major of the year. His 77th

place on the money list in 1997 wasn't enough to get him into

The Masters, U.S. Open or British Open field.

However, the PGA exempts the top 70 on the current money list

and if Mattiace has a strong finish and makes the top 30 by the

end of the year, or gets his first Tour victory, he would get

into the other majors in 1999.

"I'm going to go at it pretty heavy for the rest of the year,"

he said. "In the past, I've had to play well at the end of the

year to make sure I was in the top 125 [and keep his Tour card

for the following year], but I don't want to get complacent

now."

By the way, Mattiace shot 1under-par 69 during his Saha-lee

practice round, and played with former Wake Forest classmate and

former Jacksonville Suns pitcher Erik Hanson, who is now playing

for the Seattle Mariners. …

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