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Sunday Dispatch

Matthews hosting annual charity event

By Tony Callaio For Sunday Dispatch,

PGA pro and Dupont native, Brandon Matthews, center, greets fellow golfers to the 3rd Annual NEPA Invitational Pro-Am golf tournament held at the Country Club of Scranton. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

SCRANTON – In only the third year of the NEPA Invitational Pro-Am golf tournament held at the Country Club of Scranton, host and PGA Tour pro Brandon Matthews is pleased the way this year’s event is shaping up and the amount of money being raised for local causes.

The tournament with 50 golf pros and 50 amateurs is taking place this weekend at the Country Club of Scranton. Majority of the proceeds from the event would go to Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Danville.

“Dinner with the Pros” at the Country Club of Scranton took place on the eve of the tournament giving chance for people to dine and mingle with pro golfers as well as taking part in a live and silent auction.

“It’s pretty incredible, obviously thankful to so many people including sponsors, Scranton Area Foundation, Janet Weis for being our beneficiary, it’s a great place for the money to go, thankful to the Country Club of Scranton and it’s members, the community around here and beyond that,” Matthews said as he opened up the press conference ahead of the start of the event. “We have continuously been doubling our donation, and this year we’re going to able to hit that ($200,000) number and we’re going to hope to continue that in the future.”

The other benefactor from the event is The William Lawler Scholarship Fund through the Scranton Area Community Foundation. The Lawler Scholarship award recipient will go to an NEPA area junior golf that is going on to play collegiate golf.

“Billy Lawler was a close friend, be able to give some money in a scholarship form to a junior golfer from around here that’s deserving,” Matthews added. “It’s not as deserving as a great golfer, it’s deserving as someone who Billy would have been proud of how they handled themselves. The kids receiving this are very, very deserving of that scholarship.”

Matthews, a Pittston Area graduate and PIAA state champion, established the NEPA Invitational Fund to give back to the community where he grew up choosing Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, a facility where he was a patient as a child.

“Being able to give back to the community that shaped me is something that I have always dreamed of and for that dream to currently be in the process of being realized is truly amazing,” Matthews added. “The support from the Northeastern Pennsylvania community for my career and this event is incredibly humbling, and I will never forget where I came from.”

Over the past two years, through the efforts of the event, $150,000 has been donated to the Lawler Fund, Janet Weis, and various other organizations through the Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Matthews also stressed the importance of the event for the pro golfers participating in the tournament.

“Having these pros come up here, we have a great purse that we put together and some of the money that’s in this that can be won by the professionals can be life-changing and continue a career and be that jumpstart in a career,” Matthews said. “A check that is pretty sizeable can go along way for them and be the difference in them making it or not potentially, so I think that’s also a very important part of the event.”

Matthews said he would like to continue to hold the tournament long after his pro tour days are over hoping to eventually hit the $1 million in donations.

“I’m very, very thank for to have the platform I’ve been given to run this event and to everybody involved,” Matthews added. “It’s really special to do this.”

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