Stunning play-off win for Jones
Matt Kuchar was left to rue his mistakes as Australian Matt Jones chipped in from 42 yards to win the Shell Houston Open.
Kuchar led for virtually the entire round, but Jones was piling on the pressure and would eventually sign for a six-under-par 66, highlighted by a 46-yard putt on the final hole.
In contrast, Kuchar played the final three holes in two over, which included a bogey at the 18th when a par would have been good enough to clinch the title.
After unexpectedly finding himself in with a chance of victory, Jones took full advantage, producing a stunning 42-yard chip-in for birdie to seal his maiden PGA Tour victory.
Jones also bagged more than a million US dollars in prize money, and a ticket to Augusta for the Masters.
“It’s amazing,” Jones said.
“It’s been a while coming, been out here for seven years now, and it’s good to finally get one as I’ve had a few chances. I’m quite happy right now.
“The tee shot I didn’t hit that great, but the second shot was in a rut (in the bunker) and you can’t get on the green from there so I decided to lay up.
“Then I’ve been working hard on my putting and chipping with my coach and as soon as that came out, it was exactly where I wanted it to (be).
“I actually told my caddie coming up here I would actually chip it in, so it was nice to do it.”
As for his Masters invite, Jones added: “I have a lot of tickets to go and buy right now for a lot of family back in Australia and friends in Scottsdale, so I’ve got a lot of changes and a lot of things to go and do now,” he said.
After a slow start, Kuchar seemed to put one hand on the trophy with three back-nine birdies, but he made some crucial errors on the closing holes and bogeys at 16 and 18 opened the door for the only-too-grateful Australian.
It will be a bad case of deja vu for the American, who was tied for the lead on the back nine at last week’s Texas Open as well before surrendering the title to another winless Australian, Steven Bowditch.
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