Sydney’s Matt Jones has continued the extraordinary run of success by Australians on the US PGA Tour by taking out the Shell Houston Open in dramatic style.
The 33-year-old became yet another Australian to line up in this week’s Masters after producing two of the best shots of his career to clinch a play-off victory over American Matt Kuchar.
Jones claimed his first US PGA Tour win by chipping in for a birdie from 30 metres in the play-off after earlier sinking a snaking 15 metre birdie putt on the final hole.
Australians have now stormed to victory in four of the past eight US Tour events. Jason Day won the World Match Play in February, John Senden raised the trophy at the Valspar Championship and just last week Steven Bowditch claimed an important and emotional win in the Texas Open.
"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.
"I’ve been working hard on my putting and chipping with my coach and ….I actually told my caddie coming up here I would actually chip it in, so it was nice to do it."
Jones sealed the final ticket to the Masters, his first trip to Augusta National, as well as a two-year exemption on the US PGA Tour.
"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.
Meanwhile Adam Scott has signalled as he prepares to defend his Masters crown that he has all four majors in his crosshairs.
"I’m really looking forward to defending. I feel very comfortable there and of course winning makes that even more comfortable," Scott told AAP.
"You can develop a real affinity with the golf course and I am not resting on any laurels," he said.
"I am excited about putting myself in contention many times as we go forward.
"I’m not just going to be happy going back there to be run of the mill or middle of the pack. I want to feature.
"Now that I have one green jacket I will have an opportunity to win many others and create an amazing career just at the Masters."
Scott now wants more – all four grand slam titles and to become the best golfer Australia has produced.
"I guess there always had to be a first Aussie to win all of the majors but the Masters just became a bit bigger probably because it was the last one," Scott said.
"So in the future there will be that asterisk next to my name of being the first Aussie, and that’s nice, but in 50 or 60 years hopefully we have at least 10 guys with green jackets."
Peter Thomson is the leading major winner with five British Opens and that is a target Scott wants to zoom in on.
"If it’s not to win five or six majors and equal what Peter Thomson did, it would take something unique like a career slam to be the best Australian ever," Scott said.
"Winning all four majors would be quite an achievement and is a very small list of people who have done that.
"It’s a great goal for me to shoot for. I’d love to win enough to enter that conversation."
Scott said last month he was "very hungry… and I think most other guys would feel the same.
"I feel that the next five years should be the best five years of my career. And I’m going to make sure that happens."
Last year, after the US PGA, Scott won the Barclays, the first leg of the lucrative FedExCup playoffs. Then in October he won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which is restricted to the winners of the four majors of that year.
He returned to Australia to collect the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Masters before teaming up with Jason Day to capture the World Cup of golf.
"I’ve become a much more consistent golfer," he said. "You have days where you’re feeling really good, and days where it still feels like a struggle and you’ve got to search for it.
"But I feel overall the work I’m putting in keeps me up there on a more regular basis.
By: Robert Grant