Kragthorpe: Like Mike Weir, Len Mattiace trying to find golf game

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: July 12, 2013 01:07PM
Updated: July 17, 2013 03:56PM
Sandy - Ten years after winning the Masters, Sandy resident Mike Weir keeps trying to rediscover his golf game.

This week, a few miles from Weir's home, Len Mattiace is continuing his own search at Willow Creek Country Club.

Playing the first two rounds with Cottonwood Heights resident B.J. Staten, who opened with a 63, Mattiace posted a 2-over-par 73 and is very unlikely to make the 36-hole cut in the Web.com Tour's Utah Championship.

He's certainly trying to make a run, though, as illustrated by his hole-in-one on No. 2 this morning.

Mattiace lost to Weir in the sudden-death playoff in 2003 at Augusta National Golf Club, after playing one of the greatest final rounds in Masters history. Imagine if Mattiace had parred the 18th hole to shoot a 64 - or even if Weir had missed the 7-foot par putt to tie him. Mattiace would have been remembered for an epic performance.

Instead, he's just another Masters runner-up, now trying to play his way back to the PGA Tour at age 44.

Even if he'd won the Masters, Mattiace might still be in this position. After injuring both knees while skiing in Colorado, he tried to come back too soon and eventually played his way off the PGA Tour.

Mattiace's 2013 season has been wildly inconsistent. If he misses the cut today, he will have made only five of 14 cuts on the Web.com Tour. Yet mostly because of two top-10 finishes, he stands 54th on the money list with $53,007.

So with six tournaments remaining in the regular season, he's likely to remain in the top 75 and qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals. That four-tournament chase offers another 25 PGA Tour cards for 2014.

Mattiace needs to get back to the PGA Tour to give himself any meaningful amount of access to the Champions Tour when he turns 50. As a two-time winner of the PGA Tour, he has career earnings of $6.8 million. But that's not nearly enough to give him Champions Tour status, via the all-time money list.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com
Twitter: @tribkurt