Matt Jones has won his first Australian Open Golf Championship with a dramatic final round performance at the Australian Golf Club today.
The boy from Oyster Bay in the Sutherland Shire birdied and bogeyed his way to the Stonehaven Cup on a day where he was challenged by the world number one, his playing partner Jordan Spieth and the 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott.
On a day where Scott compiled a clinical 6-under par 65, and Queenslander Rod Pampling broke the course record of Spieth with an amazing 10-under par 61 to finish 2 shots behind, it was Jones who was never headed in the final round who held on.
“Terribly is a very nice word for what I putt on today,’” Jones joked. “I got the Job done.”
There was a lot of stress and a lot of anxious moments out there today.”
Jones literally lipped in to win the Championship after a Speith’s eagle putt on the last slipped agonisingly by. When asked about the length of putt he faced to take the Championship Jones was frank.
“It's not the most comfortable putt to leave yourself that’s for sure, I would much prefer a tap-in,” Jones said. ”I thought I’d missed it left but one of those things, it just went in and I was very, very happy.”
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Jones name now joins a list of Champions that includes his idol Greg Norman. Asked how he felt Jones was euphoric.
“It’s amazing. It’s something I would have thought about from when I was six when I first met him.”
“To have my name on this trophy with like Nicklaus, Newton, Norman, all those guys, it’s a dream come true for me and it’s something that I can’t have taken away from me,” Jones said.
Jones was quick to acknowledge the contribution of his parents and his coach, Gary Barter from The Australian Golf Club.
“My parents have sacrificed a lot for me to go to the States, play golf in America, to follow my dream. They were out there watching, my brother. I have a lot of family and relatives out here this week, friends from Oyster Bay in the Sutherland Shire that have come out to watch me and then Gary, who works here and who’s spent tireless hours waking up at 1 am to give me lessons on a range while I’m in a tour event. This trophy is just as much his as it is mine,” Jones said.
The profile of Jones is now bound to grow, and inspire plenty of kids like he was inspired by his idol Greg Norman. When asked about his profile in Australia growing now courtesy of his win he replied:
“If I can inspire young kids to play golf and help them out any way I can, if they’re interested in golf, sure. If it helps me worldwide that would be fantastic. I’m sure I’ll be noticed a little more walking around a street maybe in Australia.”
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Unfortunately for Lincoln Tighe his tie fifth position was not quite good enough to land him a coveted start in The Open Championship. The final spot went to South Australian Nick Cullen Courtesy of his higher official World Ranking position.
Aron Price and Rhein Gibson finished in a tie for 8th position at 1-under par. Rohan Blizard finsihed in tied 17th position, James Nitties in 30th. Callan O’Reilly and Peter O’Malley finished in 45th, Neven Basic in 50th, Matt Millar of the ACT and Grant Thomas finished in 54th and Matthew Giles in 62nd spot.