The Australians would not accept another Jordan-Spieth-invasion– not for the second year in a row.
Holding off the Masters champion was a player, who in 2014 played in his first and only Masters Tournament– Matt Jones. Jones, 32, is a Sydney native, and the win this past weekend at The Australian Golf Club is the biggest of his career.
But more on Jones in a second.
At their 100th installment, the Aussie Open did not disappoint in drama.
First, it was 46-year old Rod Pampling firing a tournament low round of 10-under par 61, in an event where scoring did not come easy. Pampling placed the exclamation mark on his round with a near 50-foot bomb for eagle, made on his last hole. His exclamation point of a round put him atop the leaderboard with golfers on the course, in pursuit.
Next it was Adam Scott, Australia’s golden child, who had opportunities of his own. His 6-under par round of 65 was the highlight round of his week, but a bogey on his 11th hole Sunday coupled with a few narrow misses down the stretch didn’t give him the push needed to hoist his nations trophy for the second time (2009).
Finally, it was Spieth who matched his Thursday round of 71 with a 71 on Sunday. Bogies in 3 of his first 6 holes put him in a difficult place and he wasn’t able to generate the momentum necessary to levy an attack on the top of the leaderboard. His play, consistent all week, yielded more eagles on the week (1) than it did double bogies (0).
Spieth played holes 1-4 in 5-0ver par on Saturday and Sunday combined, and it can be argued that those slow starts created a deficit that proved to be a fraction too large to overcome. In Australia’s national open, Spieth was the only American to finish under par and within the top-10.
But like I said we would, back to Matt Jones.
Jones’ win snapped a two-year streak of non-Australian winners (Spieth, 2014, Rory McIlroy 2013), something which puts a brimming smile back on the faces of Australian golf (and sport, in general) fans.
On the 18th hole, with a single four-foot putt to win the tournament, Jones snuck the ball inside the left lip, not exactly the confident finish one would expect. Check it reaction below to the way the ball scurried its way to the bottom of the hole.
If we remember back, Jones’ only win on the PGA Tour came over Matt Kuchar after an improbable hole out from off the green in a playoff.
The win at the Australian Open for Matt Jones was a dream come true, almost like that of meeting his childhood idol Greg Norman, video which was revealed by the Sydney News 7 outlet after his win.
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) November 30, 2015
2015 might be a good one for Jones.
Rory McIlroy won 2013 Aussie Open; followed with two majors the next year. Jordan Spieth won in 2014; same result. Good news for Matt Jones.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) November 29, 2015