Matt Jones lifts the Stonehaven Cup for second time. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Matt Jones lifts the Stonehaven Cup for second time. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Matt Jones joins elite Australian Open list

There are so few people who have won the Australian Open more than once that Matt Jones should have known that getting his name on the Stonehaven Cup a second time was going to take more than just a stroll in the park.

For most of yesterday, that's all it was for Jones as no-one seriously challenged his lead, but the golfing gods have got a wicked way of testing players' nerves so Jones wasn't getting off light.

Leading by three when he teed off on the par-5 18th, one of the easiest holes at the Australian Golf Club, Jones thought he had it in the bag, when he heard a huge roar ahead of him.

He didn't know it at the time but Louis Oosthuizen had just made eagle to get to 14-under, one stroke behind Jones, who was making a complete mess of the last.

After driving into a sand trap then clipping a tree branch, he still hadn't reached the green with his third shot when he suddenly realised he'd miscalculated and needed to make par to seal victory.

"I was under the assumption that Louis was on a different score, so I kind of let my guard down and relaxed a little," Jones said.

"Then when I saw what the score was, that chip became a little tougher, but I was able to get

up and down."

He chipped to within four feet of the cup then safely made the putt to close with a 69 and a winning total of 15-under to repeat his win from 2015, at the same suburban club where he is a member.

Overlooked as a contender at the start of the tournament with Adam Scott the raging favourite, Jones became just the 19th player to win multiple Australian Opens, one of the oldest tournaments in the world that boasts some of the biggest names in the sport's history.

"It's a great honour to be able to put my name on that trophy with all those champions and there are multiple major champions on there," he said.

 

Louis Oosthuizen. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Louis Oosthuizen. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

"To be on the trophy with Jack (Nicklaus) and Gary (Player) and Greg (Norman) and Adam (Scott), Rory (McIlroy), Jordan (Spieth); to be able to do it twice is very special and something that I'll be able to look back on later in life and be very proud of."

Part of his prize for winning is an automatic spot at next year's British Open at Royal St, along with Queenslander Aaron Pike and Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya, who finished tied for third at nine-under.

As a former British Open champion, Oosthuizen already has an exemption to the majors, but left his run too late to add the Stonehaven Cup to his list of titles though he was happy enough to find some form ahead of next week's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

"I used this week as preparation," Oosthuizen said.

"I'll take a lot of confidence out of this and hopefully we can pull it off next week."

Mobbed by his wife and their three kids on the final green, Jones didn't make the Presidents Cup International team so wasn't in any rush to join the other team members heading to the airport for a late flight to Victoria so was ready for something to celebrate with and settle "I'm not a big drinker and I do not look forward to hangovers, especially with three kids," he said.

"But we'll have a few somewhere. I'll probably start with beer. It used to be Jack and coke, but if they make a good margherita, I'd love that."

 

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